“ENSO-Pandemic Influenza Connection” – Stony Brook University Seminar now posted

On behalf of those of you receiving this e-mail, the NYC/LI Chapter thanks Stony Brook University for following through on our suggestion to tape their excellent talks at mid-day. The first seminar has been posted.

The links for the TOPICS IN ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC SCIENCES (TAOS) recordings will be available on this page: http://www.somas.stonybrook.edu/news_events/taos.html when they are published. This past Wednesday’s seminar is now available:

Subject: "ENSO-Pandemic Influenza Connection" –


Jeffrey Shaman
Department of Environmental Health Sciences

Columbia University


"ENSO-Pandemic Influenza Connection"


We find that the four most recent human influenza pandemics (1918,1957, 1968, and 2009), all of which were first identified in boreal spring or summer, were preceded by La Niña conditions in the equatorial Pacific. Changes in the phase of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation have been shown to alter the migration, stopover time, fitness, and interspecies mixing of migratory birds, and consequently, likely affect their mixing with domestic animals. We hypothesize that La Niña conditions bring divergent influenza subtypes together in some parts of the world and favor the reassortment of influenza through simultaneous multiple infection of individual hosts and the generation of novel pandemic strains. We propose approaches to test this hypothesis using influenza population genetics, virus prevalence in various host species, and avian migration patterns


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