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Kenya is still suffering from the weather phenomenon El Niño that hit it in 1997 and 1998. This severe example of the recurring Pacific Ocean event brought abnormally high rainfall and sea temperatures to Kenya.
Flooding irreparably damaged mangrove systems and higher ocean temperatures killed coral reefs, depriving many marine species of their breeding grounds and sources of food. Since then, fish numbers have fallen along the Kenyan coast. Those who earn a living from fishing have had to go further out into the ocean, spending more time but still ending up with lower catches.
And this situation could worsen as climate change increasingly warms the planet.
Globally, the oceans have warmed by almost one degree Celsius since 1900 and are projected to warm by 1.2 degrees by 2100, if the average global atmospheric temperature rise is kept below the UN’s two degree target. But under the current business-as-usual scenario, the oceans could warm by up to 3.2 degrees.
This audio report hears from scientists and fishermen in Kenya, and reflects on the threats to incomes and marine ecosystems from warming waters.