[Coral-List] Present Bleaching Event - PR & USVI etc.

Frank Muller-Karger carib at marine.usf.edu
Sat Oct 1 12:09:50 EDT 2005

Roger - thank you for your prompt reply (glad to see you are back in 
action). Perhaps this email train adds volume to the coral-list, but I 
am copying Rick DeVoe (chair of SECOORA) and Julio Morell and Roy 
Watlington (co-chairs of CaRA) to see if we can understand a bit better 
why there is the perception that the US Fed agencies have not been 
invited to participate in the development of the IOOS RA's. I would hope 
that this is not the case since there is a clear role for the agencies 
in this process. I see this as an opportunity to develop a stronger 
four-legged chair, where the legs are: private (commerce/NGO), academic, 
education, government (local, national, international).

With respect to partnerships, this is an opportunity to build up 
capacity in the regions using existing programs (state, 
researc/academic, NGO, commerce) to satisfy needs that feed into the 
government management process. NOAA and other operational agencies can 
and should use the exramural science community more - this is a 
responsive community. This is admittedly a bit vague, but we can start 
talking about specifics. One example that spans the whole region is 
remote sensing.

We can perhaps use the RA's as a focal point for partnerships, and help 
them (is the word "incentivate" good here?) to coordinate us.


Roger B Griffis wrote:

>Hello Frank - Thank you for the information and good suggestions.  We
>(NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program) are very keen to be full
>contributing partners with the new Caribbean Regional Association (CaRA)
>of the Integrated Ocean Observing System and the other efforts you
>mention as well.  Agree there is much to be gained in better integration
>and collaboration.
>However, since the federal agencies have not been actively
>requested/invited to engage in these regional IOOS groups however, we
>have found it difficult to engage.  Please advise how you suggest we do
>this ie key contacts, what information would be most useful.  We have
>the contact info for the CaRA leads and will contact them to offer
>I am also particularly interested in your suggestions on how to better
>collaboration/integrate efforts with "...the creative entities are a
>step ahead in creating new ways to deliver and visualize the data for
>the public, scientists, and managers in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico
>We stand ready and eager to provide information on the observing
>tools/capabilities we can bring to regional efforts, and better
>integrate these in regional context.
>Thanks - 
>>Frank Muller-Karger wrote:
>>Dear Alan:
>>Thanks for forwarding this message. This exchange reminds me of the
>>emails we sent each other earlier this year as we noticed the weak
>>trade winds and higher SST's we observed in the Caribbean and middle
>>of the tropical Atlantic...
>>As you probably know, there is an effort to establish the Caribbean
>>Regional Association (CaRA) of the Integrated Ocean Observing System
>>under leadership of the University of the Virgin Islands (Roy
>>Watlington) and the University of Puerto Rico (Julio Morell). This is
>>with seed funding from NOAA's Coastal Services Center. CaRA is an
>>ideal vehicle to move ahead in organizing regional partnerships to
>>develop the observing system you and Scott have properly identified as
>>necessary for the region. We need to link this also with the
>>Southeastern Coastal Ocean Regional Association and the various
>>IOCARIBE GOOS efforts.
>>Note that the National Science FOundation also has funded, for over 10
>>years now, an oceanographic time series in the Southern Caribbean
>>(CARIACO). Another time series is supported by the state of Puerto
>>Rico and the University of Puerto Rico (CATS).
>>Engaging and supporting CaRA to help it develop would be a very
>>beneficial thing for all in the region. It can help integrate the
>>various NOAA, NSF, local and numerous NGO and other commercial
>>programs that collect data independently - much of that data will be
>>lost if not coordinated into a common format and database.
>>You may also recall that we have several academic and private entities
>>that are doing an incredibly good job of doing remote sensing of the
>>region, and collecting, processing and redistributing various
>>comprehensive remote sensing datasets. These creative entities are a
>>step ahead in creating new ways to deliver and visualize the data for
>>the public, scientists, and managers in the Caribbean and Gulf of
>>Mexico region. I would like to see these programs better integrated in
>>the NESDIS vision, rather than being effectively ignored by NESDIS (or
>>NESDIS subsequently developing internal programs that try to do the
>>same thing).
>>I make another call for you and NOAA to partner with these entities
>>within the region to serve the region, rather than develop all
>>solutions internally within NOAA. I think everyone benefits this way,
>>by nurturing the creative and entrepreneurial spirit you have in the
>>community, and at the same time supporting the government's 24/7 role
>>to protect our lives and property.
>>Best regards,
>>Alan E. Strong wrote:
>>>Hi Scott,
>>>Thanks for that relevant overview of hurricane
>>>development/growth....keep your eyes open for next week's EOS.  One
>>>of our Branches here at NESDIS/ORA has a paper on the explosive
>>>development of Katrina [also Rita!] as they moved through the
>>>Gulf..over the DEEP warm waters  (fuel supply) of the Loop
>>>PS....I have CCed two Christopher's on this for their possible
>>>comments: one with NHC and the other my son at the DC Forecast
>>>Office in Sterling, VA
>>>scott.stripling wrote:
>>>>Kristen, Alan-
>>>>To answer Kristen's question, atmospheric conditions, as well as
>>>>oceanic conditions, must be favorable
>>>>for tropical cyclones to form. So a very warm ocean will not
>>>>necessarily lead to tropical cyclone
>>>>development all by itself. Due to the oceanography of the local
>>>>region, every year the upper layer
>>>>waters are warm enough to support the development of tropical
>>>>cyclones here in the NE Caribbean.
>>>>The anomalously warm SST's that aid in setting up the biological
>>>>conditions for bleaching can be assumed
>>>>to be connected to weaker than normal trades across or very near
>>>>the region in question, and/or
>>>>other significant low level atmospheric changes that result in
>>>>significant changes in oceanic currents.
>>>>Both of these conditions now appear at play in our region. Surface
>>>>pressure across the W Atlantic and into
>>>>the northern Caribbean have generaly been below normal since the
>>>>beginning of the year. This has helped
>>>>to produce a displaced, or much weakened "Bermuda High", with the
>>>>dominant high pressure cell
>>>>in the Atlantic meandering closer to the Azores in the central and
>>>>NE Atlantic. This has caused a reduced
>>>>trade wind flow across the tropical Atlantic, leading to less
>>>>mixing, and slower regional currents. Too,
>>>>another factor at play is the larger scale horizontal circulation
>>>>of the Atlantic. During the past 2 years, there
>>>>have been  extended periods (on the order of several weeks) with
>>>>greatly reduced transport or flow in the
>>>>Gulf Stream off of Florida. This has to contribute to a slower
>>>>than normal Atlantic Basin circulation and
>>>>other such anomalies in the circulation patterns.
>>>>It has been my contention that NOAA will never be able to
>>>>accurately model the coupled global
>>>>ocean-atmosphere system unless there is a more comprehensive in
>>>>situ oceanic observing network
>>>>established, with highest importance placed in regions of the
>>>>major currents. In the case of the Atlantic,
>>>>the Gulf stream is the major heat input to the hemisphere, and all
>>>>the water flowing through the Gulf stream
>>>>originates in the Caribbean. So to accurately model the entire
>>>>Atlantic circulation, one would assume
>>>>that in situ measurements would be needed of both the input and
>>>>the output of the Gulf stream. That
>>>>would mean monitoring the flow through the major passages into the
>>>>Caribbean, as well as key segments
>>>>along the Gulf stream flow. So...while I am on my soap box, may I
>>>>ask of you on the coral list, and
>>>>in NOAA to help point out this important issue to NOAA policy
>>>>makers. One of NOAA's big
>>>>strategic goals for the next decade is monitoring and modeling of
>>>>climate change. I argue that if
>>>>we don't have the proper input into the models, how can we
>>>>accurately model this complex system?
>>>>Scott Stripling
>>>>NOAA-NWS San Juan
>>>>Alan E. Strong wrote:
>>>>>Hi Kristen -- Now that would be an interesting survey....we have
>>>>>often observed that once an overall bleaching tendency has
>>>>>established itself over a certain region as hurricanes move
>>>>>though that region SSTs are brought down by mixing and
>>>>>upwelling.  Obviously, this extra "fuel" available for the
>>>>>tropical storm has the ability to enhance these tropical
>>>>>storms...so much more is necessary from the atmosphere to first
>>>>>permit a tropical depression to first develop...therein lies the
>>>>>Right now we are witnessing a large pool of anomalously high SSTs
>>>>>centered around the Virgin Islands...but no hurricanes have
>>>>>actually formed or been enhance, to my knowledge, over that area
>>>>>yet this year...
>>>>>Kristen Hoss wrote:
>>>>>> Hello,
>>>>>> I was wondering if anyone has ever studied the correlation of
>>>>>> coral bleaching episodes as possible indicators of what
>>>>>> hurricane activity may be like during the year?  I was
>>>>>> wondering if there was a connection that could be used as a
>>>>>> prediction tool, or if the correlation would just be related to
>>>>>> the already known water temperatures and weather patterns,
>>>>>> etc....
>>>>>> -Kristen Hoss
>>>>>> Marine Researcher
>>>>>> and Wildlife Biologist-USDA/APHIS/WS
>>>>>> */"scott.stripling" <scott.stripling at noaa.gov>/* wrote:
>>>>>>     With the NE Caribbean currently located underneath an
>>>>>> elongated
>>>>>>     area of
>>>>>>     low pressure,
>>>>>>     light and variable winds will continue to dominate the
>>>>>> region for the
>>>>>>     next 1 to 2 weeks.
>>>>>>     Computer models are forecasting only brief (6-12 hour
>>>>>> periods) of
>>>>>>     anything
>>>>>>     approaching normal trade wind flow during this time. Thus
>>>>>> the
>>>>>>     stagnant
>>>>>>     mixing conditions will
>>>>>>     persist regionally through the first week of October, at
>>>>>> the least.
>>>>>>     Scott Stripling
>>>>>>     NOAA/NWS San Juan
>>>>>>     Alan E Strong wrote:
>>>>>>     > *NOTICE - Bleaching continues to evolve throughout
>>>>>> Eastern
>>>>>>     Caribbean*
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>>     > Beginning in the central Keys during August (Sombrero Key
>>>>>>     especially)
>>>>>>     > the warm water episode and accompanying bleaching for
>>>>>> this year is
>>>>>>     > progressing south and eastward through Cuba, Puerto Rico
>>>>>> and the
>>>>>>     > Virgin Islands. This can visually be seen in our recen t
>>>>>> 12-week
>>>>>>     > composite of HotSpot accumulations - Degree Heating Weeks
>>>>>> (DHWs):
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>> http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data2/dhwa.9.19.2005.gif
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>>     > and HotSpots:
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>>     > http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/hotspotwnc.gif
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>>     > Extremely high DHWs above "8" in much of the Virgin
>>>>>> Islands are
>>>>>>     quite
>>>>>>     > worrisome as these levels in past bleaching events
>>>>>> typically bring
>>>>>>     > some mortality to corals. This evolving episode continues
>>>>>> to be at
>>>>>>     > near unprecedented levels of thermal stress for this
>>>>>> region
>>>>>>     since our
>>>>>>     > satellite records began in the mid-80s. From the chart
>>>>>> one can
>>>>>>     observe
>>>>>>     > that eastern Puerto Rico is under higher levels of
>>>>>> thermal
>>>>>>     stress at
>>>>>>     > present than western PR....hence the recent reports of
>>>>>> considerable
>>>>>>     > bleaching. Until some reduced solar radiation and/or wind
>>>>>> & mixing
>>>>>>     > comes to the "rescue" we worry about prospects along much
>>>>>> of the
>>>>>>     > Windward Islands toward South America over the next month
>>>>>> or so.
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>>     > Sorry our repot couldn't be more positive.
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>>     > Regards,
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>>     > Al Strong
>>>>>>     > NOAA's Coral Reef Watch
>>>>>>     > http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/index.html
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>> >------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>>     >_______________________________________________
>>>>>>     >Coral-List mailing list
>>>>>>     >Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>>>>>>     >http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>>     >
>>>>>>     _______________________________________________
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>>__________________ FMK __________________
>>Frank Muller-Karger
>>Institute for Marine Remote Sensing/IMaRS
>>College of Marine Science
>>University of South Florida
>>140 7th Ave. South
>>St Petersburg, FL 33701
>>  (727) 553-3335 Office
>>  (727) 553-1186 Lab.
>>  (727) 553-1103 FAX
>><< carib at marine.usf.edu >>
>><< http://imars.usf.edu>>


__________________ FMK __________________ 
Frank Muller-Karger 
Institute for Marine Remote Sensing/IMaRS 
College of Marine Science 
University of South Florida 
140 7th Ave. South 
St Petersburg, FL 33701

  (727) 553-3335 Office
  (727) 553-1186 Lab.
  (727) 553-1103 FAX

<< carib at marine.usf.edu >>
<< http://imars.usf.edu>>

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