Bleaching Alert - Scott Reef

Alan E Strong Alan.E.Strong at
Fri Jan 17 16:26:18 EST 2003

Bleaching Alert - 14.02S, 121.85E - Scott Reef

Scott Reef off the northwest shelf of Australia was one of the hardest
hit reefs during the 1998 bleaching event, with reports of bleaching as
deep as 30 meters.

In our collaborations with the Australian Institute of Marine Science we

note that due to a significant SST anomaly off the NW Australia, Scott
Reef is once again (interestingly again during an El Nino) experiencing
potentially high stress due to very hot water.

It has currently accumulated 8.4 DHW (Degree Heating Weeks, see  This
compares to 8 DHW for 1998.  The big difference this year is that
the apparent center of the SST anomaly causing this severe thermal
stress is to the NW of Scott as opposed to the W and SW in 1998,
also the 2003 SST anomaly is significantly cooler, but obviously closer
to Scott Reef.  This may imply that the accumulated heat is shallower
than in 1998, but this can be only speculation at this stage.

A more troublesome aspect of this anomaly is that it is very close to
Ashmore Reef (approx. 10 km to the northeast) which is currently
experiencing a DHW of more than 8.  This compares to a maximum
DHW of 6.5 for 1998.

We expect that there has been significant bleaching on both reefs
to date.

AIMS plans a research cruise to Scott Reef mid-March 2003.

NOAA's Coral Reef Watch Team
**** <>< ******* <>< ******* <>< ******* <>< *******
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


  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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