[Coral-List] Request for field observations: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

G.P. Schmahl george.schmahl at noaa.gov
Mon Aug 9 10:42:33 EDT 2010

   Jim - FYI.  All four of the banks of interest were visited by staff of the
   Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary on July 30 and 31, 2010.  The
   primary objective of this visit was to collect sediment samples and to
   install semi-permeable membrane devices (SPMD's) that will be used for
   hydrocarbon analysis related to the Deepwater Horizon blowout.  However,
   general observations did not indicate any obvious signs of coral bleaching
   at the East or West Flower Garden Banks.  Coral areas were not specifically
   visited  at  Stetson or Sonnier Banks, so general observations are not
   We will be conducting detailed benthic surveys at Stetson Bank this week as
   part of our long-term monitoring effort, and will be conducting detailed
   surveys at the East and West FGB the week of August 16th, and Sonnier Bank
   the week of August 23rd.  We will send you a report as these surveys are
   completed.  Let me know if there is specific additional information that we
   could collect that may be helpful.
   On  a  side  note,  while visiting the banks on July 30-31, we sampled
   temperature and salinity throughout the water column on top of the reefs.  A
   definite freshwater signature was noted at most locations.  "Green" water
   was present with reduced visibility throughout the water column (East and
   West FGB), and within a pronounced (top 7 meters) layer at Stetson Bank.
   Here is a summary:
   Sonnier Bank:  Surface - 29.7°C, 34.3 ppt;  20m - 29.7°C, 35.4 ppt
   East Flower Garden:  Surface - 30.8°C, 31.5 ppt;  20m - 29.4°, 33.9 ppt
   West Flower Garden:  Surface - 30.7°C,  30.6 ppt;  20m -  28.2°C, 35.3 ppt
   Stetson Bank:  Surface - 30.6°C,  29.0 ppt;  20m - 29.7°C, 36.2 ppt
   G.P. Schmahl
   Jim Hendee wrote:


    Of the many sites we monitor for conditions theoretically conducive
to mass coral bleaching (e.g., high sea temperature, low winds, and high
irradiance, through in situ or satellite data) at
[1]http://ecoforecast.coral.noaa.gov, four sites are in the Flower Garden
Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the northern Gulf of Mexico.  Since a
whole armada of various government, industry and private vessels have
been in that region, due to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, we here at
AOML/CHAMP are wondering if there have been any observations of
bleaching at the following four virtual station sites, where conditions
appear to be possibly conducive to such an event:

    Sonnier Banks  (28.353 ° latitude, -92.483 ° longitude)
    West Flower Garden Bank  (27.883 ° latitude, -93.84 ° longitude)
    East Flower Garden Bank  (27.927 ° latitude, -93.626 ° longitude)
    Stetson Bank  (28.179 ° latitude, -94.312 ° longitude)

    Feedback helps us to fine-tune our forecasting and modeling efforts,
so any direct observations  as to species, dates, environmental
conditions, location, etc. would be helpful.  An example report is shown
at the bottom, and please note that we consider these reports as
research mode only, not operational.


        Jim Hendee
        Coral Health and Monitoring Program
        Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
        National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
        Miami, FL

Ecological Forecast: 'Mass bleaching of hard corals'
Station/Site: East Flower Garden Bank 'virtual monitoring site', FGB National M
arine Sanctuary (EBFG1)
Forecast/diagnostic generated on 7 Aug 2010  10:29:56 p.m.

Forecast as of Friday, 2010-Aug-06 (Day 218)

Model Rule:
    'Mass coral bleaching (high SST + high light + low wind)'

    Stimulus/Response Index (S/RI) = 51, because:
            Photosynthetically Active Radiation at ocean surface (Parsurf) was
High (1718.697) during period Mid Day
            hourly average wind speed (Windsp) was Low (5.26) during period All
            REMSS 'MISST' blended microwave/infrared SST (Sst) was High (31.123
) during period All Day

Cumulative Stimulus/Response Index: 51

Follow the links below to see plots of local and regional environmental
conditions related to this particular Ecological Forecast:

Summary of environmental data (including in situ, if available) for this site:
Browse detailed maps of the Multi-Instrument Sea Surface Temperature (MISST) fo
r this date:
Browse all MODIS satellite SST and chlorophyll_a imagery for this date:
Browse NDBC ship-board and in situ observations near this site for the PAST 12
Browse QuickSCAT winds from both daily passes ('morning' and 'evening') on this
Browse the 3-day composite of satellite wind speeds and rain-fall rates for thi
s date:

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   George (G.P.) Schmahl

   Sanctuary Superintendent

   National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

   Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

   4700 Avenue U, Building 216

   Galveston, TX  77551

   (409) 621-5151 ext. 102

   (409) 621-1316 (fax)

   [10]george.schmahl at noaa.gov



   1. http://ecoforecast.coral.noaa.gov/
   2. http://ecoforecast.coral.noaa.gov/index/0/EBFG1/station-graphs/EBFG1-SENSORS
   3. http://www.remss.com/sst/sst_data_daily.html?sat=mw_ir&size=medium&year=2010&month=08&day=06
   4. http://modis.marine.usf.edu/daily/2010218.html
   5. http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/radial_search.php?lat1=27.927N&lon1=93.626W&uom=M&dist=150&time=12
   6. http://www.ssmi.com/qscat/scatterometer_data_daily.html?size=medium&year=2010&month=08&day=06
   7. http://www.ssmi.com/ssmi/ssmi_data_3day.html?&keep=0&year=2010&month=08&day=06
   8. mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   9. http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
  10. mailto:george.schmahl at noaa.gov
  11. http://flowergarden.noaa.gov/

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