[Coral-List] NY Times: Extreme Heat Puts Coral Reefs at Risk

Dr. C. Mark Eakin Mark.Eakin at noaa.gov
Wed Sep 22 19:46:08 EDT 2010

Actually, John, it merely shows that they did not refer to it properly as the El Nino of 2009-10. Because El Nino events span two years, 2010 is an El Nino year in the same way that 1998 was: year 2 of an El Nino event. Also like 1998, it is the first year of what we expect to be a significant La Nina. If it holds, it will be the 2010-2011 La Nina.

There is strong statistical evidence and a physical basis that the Caribbean normally warms in the second year of El Nino events.


On Sep 21, 2010, at 1:29 AM, Bruno, John F wrote:

> Note the striking error in the story in falsely stating that 2010 is an EL Nino year (thus implying we are currently in an El Nino phase):
> "Drastic die-offs of coral were seen for the first time in 1983 in the eastern Pacific and the Caribbean, during a large-scale weather event known as El Nino. During an El Nino, warm waters normally confined to the western Pacific flow to the east; 2010 is also an El Nino year."
> We were indeed still in El Nino during the beginning of 2010, however, we are now firmly in a La Nina phase of ENSO and have been since May: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/index.shtml
> The error goes beyond simply misreporting the oceanographic facts, it causes Justin to entirely miss the significance of the event: unlike past warming/mass-bleaching events in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean, this time it is happening during a La Nina and is thus obviously not caused by a natural El Nino (perhaps exacerbated by background warming), i.e., this time the pattern is more concordant with the argument that the observed warming is related to anthropogenic climate change.  
> Sincerely,
> John
> John F. Bruno, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor
> Department of Marine Science
> The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
> jbruno at unc.edu
> www.brunolab.net
> President & Lead Scientist
> The Blue Carbon Project
> www.thebluecarbonproject.com

C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D.
Coordinator, NOAA Coral Reef Watch
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Center for Satellite Applications and Research
Satellite Oceanography & Climate Division
e-mail: mark.eakin at noaa.gov
url: coralreefwatch.noaa.gov

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