El Niño is a meteorologic/oceanographic phenomenon that occurs sporadically (every few years) at low latitudes. It is felt particularly strongly in the eastern Pacific region, notably from the equator southwards along the coasts of Ecuador and Peru. The El Niño is a component of the ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) which accentuates the intimate and causal connection between atmospheric and marine processes. Obvious manifestations of El Niño in the eastern Pacific are anomalous warming of the sea; reduced upwelling; a marked decline in fisheries, and high rainfall with frequent flooding.

The 1982/83 El Niño was exceptionally severe, and was probably the strongest warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean to occur during this century. The warming was intense and spread over large parts of the Pacific Ocean and penetrated to greater depths than usual. Many eastern Pacific coral reefs that had exhibited uninterrupted growth for several hundred years until 1983 were devasted by the disturbance and are now in an erosional mode. Marine species were adversely affected. The consequent depletion of the plant food base resulted in significant reductions in stocks of fish, squid etc. This led to a mass migration and near-total reproductive failure of marine birds at Christmas Island.

Emphasis in this volume is placed on disturbances to benthic communities; littoral populations; terrestrial communities and extratropical regions.

Table of Contents

(Selection) Physical Aspects of the El Niño Event of 1982-1983. The global view. Some historical perspective. Development of the Event of 1982-1983. Nutrients and Productivity During the 1982/83 El Niño. Enso cycle. The basinwide setting. Western Pacific. Eastern Pacific normal conditions. Eastern Pacific anomalous conditions. Productivity effects of El Niño. Coral Mortality and Disturbances to Coral Reefs in the Tropical Eastern Pacific. Coral bleaching. mortality and environmental correlates. Community effects. Interrupted coral growth and reef framework accumulation: indicators of severe event occurrences. Discussion and conclusions. Summary. The Effects of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation on the Dispersal of Corals and Other Marine Organisms. Oceanic currents in the tropical and subtropical Pacific. Oceanic currents during the 1982-83 El Niño. Transport of marine organisms in oceanic currents. Coral Mortality Outside of the Eastern Pacific During 1982-1983: Relationship to El Niño. ENSO and coral mortality. Detailed case study - great barrier reef. Detailed case study - San Blas islands, Panama. El Niño and the History of Eastern Pacific Reef Building. Background. The 1982-1983 El Niño event and eastern Pacific reefs. Evidence for past El Niño events. Ocean conditions and past El Niño events. Urvina bay, Galapagos islands. Discussion. Reef-Building Corals and Identification of ENSO Warming Episodes. Study sites. Methods. Stable Isotope records in corals. Trace Element Indicators of Climate Variability in Reef-Building Corals. Minor and trace element geochemistry of corals. Sample sites. Methods. Oceanic markers of El Niño. Historical Aspects of El Niño/Southern Oscillation - Information from Tree Rings. Tree rings as a source


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© 1990
Elsevier Science
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