Opposing forces of aerosol cooling and El Niño drive coral bleaching on Caribbean reefs

Gill, Jennifer A., Watkinson, Andrew R., McWilliams, John P. and Cote, Isabelle M. (2006) Opposing forces of aerosol cooling and El Niño drive coral bleaching on Caribbean reefs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103 (49). pp. 18870-18873. ISSN 0027-8424

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Bleaching of corals as a result of elevated sea surface temperatures (SST) is rapidly becoming a primary source of stress for reefs globally; the scale and extent of this threat will depend on how the drivers of SST interact to influence bleaching patterns. We demonstrate how the opposing forces of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and levels of atmospheric aerosols drive regional-scale patterns of coral bleaching across the Caribbean. When aerosol levels are low, bleaching is largely determined by El Niño strength, but high aerosol levels mitigate the effects of a severe El Niño. High aerosol levels, resulting principally from recent volcanic activity, have thus protected Caribbean reefs from more frequent widespread bleaching events but cannot be relied on to provide similar protection in the future.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science
Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of the Seas
Depositing User: Vishal Gautam
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2006
Last Modified: 16 May 2023 00:58
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/17285
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0608470103

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