EL NIÑO'S POWERFUL REACH   What is
El Niņo?
Clues From
the Past
Long Distance
Connections
Winners &
Losers
El Niņo
Lowdown

Left 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 A Deadly Combo Right

World locations of coral reefs
World locations of coral reefs.

Following the 1997-98 El Niņo event, 15 percent of the world's coral reefs died. Many scientists suspect that El Niņo was not the sole culprit but was aided by global warming. During the past 100 years, sea temperatures have increased, causing many corals to live close to the maximum temperature they can withstand. An El Niņo event increases the sea temperature even more. Coral Reef
Coral Reef
In 1994 living coral tissue covered this entire 400-year-old coral formation near Key West, Florida (top). By 1998, over 75% of this colony had died due to a rise in sea temperatures (bottom).