[Coral-List] new bleaching risk assessment tools for GBR and Coral Sea

Jeff Maynard j.maynard at gbrmpa.gov.au
Wed Mar 7 23:39:33 EST 2007


Recently, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority have been 
collaborating with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research and the Bureau 
of Meteorology to produce new products to both nowcast and forecast 
coral bleaching events and impacts in the Great Barrier Reef and Coral 
Sea (media release below this message). This work builds on the highly 
acclaimed Hotspot family of products developed by the NOAA Coral Reef 
Watch team, lead by Alan Strong and Mark Eakin.

1. ReefTemp: ReefTemp is a mapping product that provides nowcasts of 
bleaching risk in the Great Barrier Reef region through an interactive 
Google Earth application. ReefTemp images are updated daily and include 
the raw SST, positive SST anomaly, the Degree-Heating Days, and a new 
thermal stress index, the Heating Rate, all calculated at 2km resolution.

The ReefTemp product and more information can be viewed on the ReefTemp 
webpages at:


Technical report describing the development of ReefTemp:


Links to the minimum system requirements (such as a 3D graphics card and 
_>_512mb RAM) to run the new versions of Google Earth (ReefTemp requires 
at least version 4.0.2091 - Sept 2006) are available on the ReefTemp 
site. For those that cannot run the interactive product, current static 
images of the stress indices are available on the 'Launch ReefTemp Now!' 

2. POAMA Experimental GBR SST Forecasts: The Predictive Ocean and 
Atmosphere Model Australia (POAMA) working group at the Bureau of 
Meteorology Research Centre in Melbourne have worked with the GBRMPA to 
adapt outputs of their climate model to provide forecasts of anomalous 
SST in the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Plots are provided on the 
website with lead times of 0-3 months, here:


Skill plots for the POAMA GBR Forecasts show high skill values for these 
intraseasonal forecasts and can be found at:


For further information or to share comments and ideas, please contact:

j.maynard at gbrmpa.gov.au


Jeffrey Maynard

...media release below signature.

Climate Change Response Programme
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
2-68 Flinders St
PO Box 1379
Townsville, Qld  4810

Ph:  61 (07) 4750 0771
Mobile: 61 0424325050
Fax: 61 (07) 4772 6093

Email: J.Maynard at gbrmpa.gov.au

If you have received this transmission in error please notify us immediately
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*CSIRO Media Release*


Ref 07/

*Daily updates to assess Great Barrier Reef bleaching*

A new tool has been developed which provides daily updates of the risk 
of ‘coral bleaching’ in the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs in the 
Coral Sea.

Developed by CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, the Great Barrier 
Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), 
/ReefTemp/ is the newest of a suite of tools using satellite 
observations to detect environmental impacts within a changing climate.

CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Research Flagship scientist, Dr Peter Turner, 
says the tool provides the highest resolution (2km x 2km) assessments of 
bleaching risk of any product in the world.

“With /ReefTemp/, bleaching risk for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and 
other reefs in the Coral Sea can be monitored at the scale of an 
individual reef from any computer with an Internet connection," he says.

/“ReefTemp/ is a great example of an environmental management tool 
developed using the results of long-term research programs, modern 
computer technology and strong collaboration between agencies. For 
example, Bureau of Meteorology has worked closely with the GBRMPA on 
this project,” Dr Turner says.

The GBRMPA Climate Change Response Programme’s Jeff Maynard says mass 
coral bleaching events, caused by higher than normal sea temperatures, 
are widely considered to be one of the greatest threats to the GBR.

“Building on pioneering work in this area by the US National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration,/ ReefTemp/ is the first sea-surface 
temperature monitoring and mapping product in Australia tailored 
specifically to record coral bleaching,” Mr Maynard says.

The Predictive Ocean and Atmosphere Model Australia group at the Bureau 
of Meteorology have worked with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park 
Authority to develop a product that complements /ReefTemp/’s daily 
updates of the current risk by assessing the likelihood that 
temperatures will exceed bleaching tolerances one to three months in 

"Combined, these products enable the GBRMPA, scientists, tourism 
operators, students and individuals to better monitor and assess the 
extent and severity of coral bleaching risk in the Marine Park. “It also 
enables the Marine Park Authority to fine-tune research and monitoring 
trips during the bleaching season and better understand the relationship 
between thermal stress and bleaching.”

Mr Maynard says /ReefTemp/ updates show that current regional 
sea-surface temperatures continue to be below long-term February 
averages while the Predictive Ocean and Atmosphere Model Australia 
forecasts of sea-surface temperature suggest this trend will continue 
over coming weeks.

“So far this summer, there have been some observations of minor, 
isolated bleaching on some reef flats but the risk of widespread coral 
bleaching during the 2007 summer in the GBR region is currently ‘low’.

*Further Information:*


Dr Peter Turner, CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship

Jeff Maynard, GBRMPA Climate Change Response Programme

Visit the /ReefTemp/ website: 


*Media Assistance:*


Craig Macaulay, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research


03 6232 5219

*www.csiro.au <http://www.csiro.au/> *

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