In early 2011, ocean temperatures along the west coast of Australia were the highest ever recorded (Pearce and Feng 2013). This resulted in the first ever recorded bleaching event in the pristine World Heritage Ningaloo Reef and massive die off of economically important fish species off the west coast. This unprecedented marine heat wave has been termed the Ningaloo Niņo (Feng et al. 2013), in analogy with other coastal Niņos, such as Benguela Niņo.
The 2010-2011 Ningaloo Niņo was mostly induced by an unseasonable surge of the Leeuwin Current during one of the strongest La Niņas on record. Both remote wind anomalies in the equatorial western Pacific and local alongshore wind anomalies are important in accelerating the Leeuwin Current during the event.
ABC 7.30 Report (12 October 2012)
CSIRO media release (21 February 2013)
UNESCO website (25 February 2013)
Ningaloo Niņo publications
Pearce A. and Feng, M. (2013). The rise and fall of the "marine heat wave" off Western Australia during the summer of 2010/11. Journal of Marine Systems. 111-112, 139-156. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2012.10.009.
Feng, M., McPhaden, M.J., Xie, S. & Hafner, J. La Niņa forcesunprecedented Leeuwin Current warming in 2011. Sci. Rep. 3, 1277; DOI:10.1038/srep01277 (2013).
Doi, T., Behera, S.K. & Yamagata, T. Predictability of the Ningaloo Niņo/Niņa. Sci. Rep. 3, 2892; DOI:10.1038/srep02892 (2013).
Kataoka T, Tozuka T, Behera SK, Yamagata T (2013) On the Ningaloo Niņo/Niņa. Clim. Dyn. doi:10.1007/s00382-013-1961-z.