[Coral-List] GBR Coral Bleaching Update - December 2003
paulma at gbrmpa.gov.au
Fri Dec 19 01:21:00 EST 2003
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Climate Change Program is
dedicated to understanding and reporting coral bleaching events and
other climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, and developing
strategies to respond to this emerging threat.
The Climate Change Program provides regular reports on conditions on the
reef throughout summer and publishes early warnings of increases in
levels of stress or widespread bleaching of corals. This is the first
Current Conditions Report for the summer of 2003/04.
**GBR Current Conditions Report 19 December 2003**
The warm weather of the last few weeks heralds the onset of summer for
northeastern Australia. Sea temperatures in the Great Barrier Reef have
been a little above average throughout much of winter, with recent weeks
showing a strong increase in temperature at key locations.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology National Climate Centre reports
that the chances of above average temperatures for the January to March
period are 75 to 80% in northern Queensland. In addition, the World
Meteorological Organisation just announced that 2003 was the second
hottest year on record, following closely global temperatures recorded
While this may increase the chances of above-average sea temperatures
occurring this summer, the actual risk of widespread coral bleaching on
the Great Barrier Reef will be determined by a complex interaction of
regional water temperatures, local air temperatures, cloud cover, winds
While it is certainly shaping up to be a hot summer, weather patterns
over the coming months will be critical in determining whether the Great
Barrier Reef experiences another coral bleaching event this season.
Widespread bleaching of corals is not expected at this time of year, and
water temperatures are currently below levels known to cause thermal
stress to corals. As summer progresses, the situation will be closely
monitored by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in conjunction
with AIMS and NOAA.
The latest update on conditions on the Reef, together with further
information about coral bleaching can be found on the GBRMPA web site
The GBRMPA welcomes any reports of coral bleaching. If you regularly
visit a reef site, or you have seen bleaching on the reef, we would be
grateful for your input to our BleachWatch Program. Follow the links
from the GBRMPA home page to BleachWatch.
For more information on GBRMPA’s Coral Bleaching Response Program or
BleachWatch, contact the Climate Change Program of the Research and
Monitoring Unit: research_and_monitoring at gbrmpa.gov.au.
Best wishes for a relaxing christmas and a bleaching-free summer,
and the rest of the GBRMPA Climate Change team.
Dr Paul Marshall
Climate Change Program
Research & Monitoring Co-ordination Unit
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
PO Box 1379
Townsville QLD 4810
email: p.marshall at gbrmpa.gov.au
phone: 07 4750 0771
fax: 07 4772 6093
mobile:0428 889 812
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