[Coral-List] GBR Bleaching Conditions Update - 10 March 2004

Paul Marshall paulma at gbrmpa.gov.au
Sun Mar 14 06:01:42 EST 2004

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Climate Change Program is
dedicated to observing, understanding and reporting coral bleaching
events and other climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef. The
Climate Change Program provides regular reports on conditions on the
Reef throughoutsummer and publishes early warnings of increases in
levels of stress or widespread bleaching of corals. This is the seventh
Current Conditions Report for the summer of 2003/04.

Updated 10 March 2004

On the basis of current conditions and climate predictions for the
summer of 2004, the threat of severe and widespread coral bleaching for
the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region is currently rated as moderate-high.
Sea temperatures have persisted close to thresholds known to cause
bleaching at many locations for the past month. Although stress levels
seen so far are considerably lower than were experienced in the major
bleaching event of 2002, reports of minor or patchy bleaching continue
to be received from sites throughout the GBR. A recent resurgence in
temperatures has correlated with an intensification in bleaching at a
few monitoring sites. Fortunately, conditions in the last few days have
seen sea temperatures decrease throughout the GBR region. Conditions
over the next few weeks are still critical in determining if the minor
bleaching seen so far on the GBR escalates to a more serious mass
bleaching event.

See the GBR Bleaching web site for the full current conditions report:

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority will continue to closely
monitor the situation with the support of BleachWatch participants and
in conjunction with AIMS, University of Queensland and NOAA.

The GBRMPA welcomes any reports of coral bleaching. If you regularly
visit a reef site, or if you have seen bleaching on the reef, we would
be grateful for your input to our BleachWatch Program.

For information on how to join BleachWatch, and for background
information on climate change, coral bleaching and the Great Barrier
Reef, visit the GBRMPA web site:


Paul Marshall, PhD
Climate Change Program
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Townsville, Australia
phone +61 7 4750 0771
fax +61 7 4772 6093
email p.marshall at gbrmpa.gov.au

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