Plants need light to grow. They also require nutrients. For tiny marine plants, called phytoplankton, those nutrients are often brought up from the ocean’s cold, deep waters to the surface by mixing. But this normal circulation gets disrupted during El Niño years, when huge masses of warm water—equivalent to about half of the volume of the Mediterranean Sea—slosh east across the Pacific Ocean towards South America. The change can have fatal consequences for phytoplankton in the eastern equatorial Pacific.
Here is the full story with associated images and video!