A number of factors contributed to the marine heatwave that affected ecology off the WA coast in 2011. A team of oceanographers from Australia and America worked on the issue, dubbing it the “Ningaloo Niño”.
Water temperatures rose between three and five degrees above the seasonal average. Record easterly and northerly winds were found to have affected the south-flowing Leeuwin Current.
Increases in temperature, and particularly sharp ones, have an adverse effect on marine life, including fish kills and coral bleaching. The study will be useful in determining how to deal with future extreme events.