Balancing Act: El Niños and dust both affect coral bleaching | Science News

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Balancing Act: El Niños and dust both affect coral bleaching

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12:27pm, November 21, 2006

Most of the variation in the amount of Caribbean coral that turns sickly pale each year is driven by two counteracting forces, a new analysis shows. They are the periodic ocean heating from the climate phenomenon known as El Niño and the occasional cooling action of sunlight-blocking particles high in the atmosphere.

When ocean temperatures rise even slightly, some species of corals shed the brightly colored algae that live within them, a sometimes-reversible change known as coral bleaching (SN: 8/28/04, p. 142: Available to subscribers at Some corals like it hotter). If bleaching episod

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