NOAA News Online (Story 1104)

Alan E Strong Alan.E.Strong at
Tue Feb 25 13:59:00 EST 2003

NOAA News Story - Press Release -
Degree Heating Week Charts - OPERATIONAL!

**** <>< ******* <>< ******* <>< ******* <>< *******
Alan E. Strong
Team Leader, Marine Applications Science Team (MAST)
Coral Reef Watch Project Coordinator
Phys Scientist/Oceanographer
  NOAA Science Center -- RM 711W
  5200 Auth Road
  Camp Springs, MD 20746-4304
        Alan.E.Strong at
             301-763-8102 x170
              FAX: 301-763-8572


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  [NOAA satellite image of Degree Heating Weeks for the past 12 weeks taken Feb. 25, 2003.]February
                                                                                           25, 2003
  — NOAA scientists are using satellite data to monitor the long-term effects of heat stresses on
  several coral reefs throughout the world. While the scientists have been monitoring the stresses
  for some time, the NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service is now
  providing an operational product called “Degree Heating Week”. (Click NOAA satellite image for
  larger view of Degree Heating Weeks for the past 12 weeks taken Feb. 25, 2003. Click here for

  “Degree Heating Weeks have been available experimentally for some time,” said Dr. Alan Strong,
  coordinator of Coral Reef Watch at NOAA Satellite and Information Services. “Turning operational
  means that coral reef managers and stake holders will now have up-to-date, accurate, and reliable
  information on the status of their reefs and may be able to take active measures to prevent
  further damage if their site has a high DHW rating.”

  Using satellite-derived information, DHWs continuously monitor the cumulative thermal stress of
  several coral reefs throughout the globe, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos,
  the Bahamas and others. The extent and acuteness of thermal stress, key predictors of coral
  bleaching, contribute to coral reef degradation worldwide.

  Coral reefs compose a large and integral part of the coastal ocean, supporting a variety of sea
  life and providing resources of significant economic importance. Coral bleaching occurs as coral
  tissue expels zooxanthellae, a symbiotic algae essential to coral survival that resides within
  the structure of the coral. Bleaching is induced by high water temperatures.

  A Degree Heating Week is designed to indicate the accumulated stress experienced by coral reefs.
  For example, if the current temperature of a reef site exceeds the maximum expected summertime
  temperature by one degree Celsius, then the site receives a rating of 1 DHW. If the current
  temperature at the site is two degrees Celsius above the maximum expected summertime temperature
  or one degree above for a period of two weeks, the site would receive a rating of 2 DHWs, and so

  With the operational product, NOAA Satellite and Information Services will provide continuous
  technical support on a 24-hour, seven-day basis, and will maintain a Web site which will be
  updated twice a week.

  NOAA Satellite and Information Services is the nation’s primary source of space-based
  meteorological and climate data. NOAA Satellite and Information Services operates the nation's
  environmental satellites, which are used for weather and ocean observation and forecasting,
  climate monitoring and other environmental applications. Applications include sea-surface
  temperature, fire detection and ozone monitoring.

  NOAA Satellite and Information Services also operates three data centers, which house global data
  bases in climatology, oceanography, solid earth geophysics, marine geology and geophysics,
  solar-terrestrial physics, and paleoclimatology.

  NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and
  research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the
  nation’s coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U. S. Department of Commerce.

  Relevant Web Sites
  NOAA’s Degree Heating Week

  NOAA Satellite and Information Services

  NOAA's Coral Reef

  Media Contact:
  Patricia Viets, NOAA Satellite and Information Services, (301) 457-5005

  Alan E. Strong, Ph. D. <Alan.E.Strong at>
  Oceanographer/Team Leader
  Oceanic Research & Applications Division

  Alan E. Strong, Ph. D.
  Oceanographer/Team Leader                 <Alan.E.Strong at>
  Oceanic Research & Applications Division
  NOAA Science Center 5200 Auth Road        Cellular: 410-490-6602
  Camp Springs                              Fax: 301-763-8572
  MD                                        Work: 301-763-8102 x170
  Additional Information:
  Last Name     Strong
  First Name    Alan E.
  Version       2.1

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