[Coral-List] NOAA CRW Coral Bleaching Analysis and Outlook Message (Sept 2010)

Dr. C. Mark Eakin mark.eakin at noaa.gov
Sun Sep 12 19:11:37 EDT 2010

A presentation on the current conditions and outlook was featured last week in a TNC Reef Resilience webinar. This webinar was recorded and is available under the "events" tab at http://www.reefresilience.org/

Reef Resilience Webinar: Bleaching Outlook

PRESENTER: Dr. Mark Eakin, NOAA Coral Reef Watch Program
HOST: Stephanie Wear, Director of Coral Reef Conservation, Global Marine
Initiative, The Nature Conservancy

TIME: 9 September 2010 - 4:30 pm US EDT

Abstract: This live webinar will discuss the Bleaching Outlook for the Caribbean Basin and western Pacific. Due to the urgency of the situation we have scheduled this emergency Bleaching Outlook webinar to hear from Dr. Mark Eakin of the NOAA Coral Reef Watch Program. Coral reef bleaching has been happening around the globe this year including extensive bleaching in Indonesia, Thailand, and other parts of Southeast Asia. Reports of bleaching in the Caribbean are starting to trickle in and there is a strong potential of coral bleaching in the Caribbean and western Pacific from the Marianas to western Micronesia. Dr. Eakin will share the bleaching outlook for the Caribbean and western Pacific as well as key actions local managers can take in the event of a mass bleaching.


On Sep 11, 2010, at 3:38 AM, Coral Reef Watch wrote:

> Analysis of September 2010 Thermal Stress and Seasonal Guidance Through 
> December 2010
> The NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW) satellite coral bleaching monitoring 
> shows sea surface temperatures (SSTs) continue to remain above average 
> throughout the wider Caribbean region. Large areas of the southeastern 
> Caribbean Sea are experiencing thermal stress capable of causing coral 
> bleaching. The western Gulf of Mexico and the southern portion of the 
> Bahamas have also experienced significant bleaching thermal stress. The 
> CRW Coral Bleaching Thermal Stress Outlook indicates that the high 
> stress should continue to develop in the southern and southeast 
> Caribbean until mid-October. Bleaching stress in the western Gulf of 
> Mexico and southern Bahamas should dissipate quickly in the next couple 
> of weeks.
> According to the CRW HotSpots, there is currently bleaching-level 
> thermal stress around a large region in the northwestern Pacific, but 
> except for the eastern coast of Japan, the high-stress areas are outside 
> of areas where corals occur. The high thermal stress previously centered 
> on the Philippines has mostly dissipated. Some areas around the 
> Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the Philippines, and Palau continue in a 
> Bleaching Watch status. The outlook shows that the thermal stress in the 
> northwestern Pacific is expected to shift south starting in October as 
> the northern hemisphere summer ends. There is a potential for 
> bleaching-level stress through November in a region centered to the 
> south of Guam and extending from Palau to Chuuk. We will continue to 
> watch the potential for thermal stress around Papua-New Guinea later in 
> the year.
> Most of the southern hemisphere and the entire Indian Ocean basin are 
> expected to remain free from significant bleaching thermal stress 
> through December 2010.
> (See full alert message for details at
> http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/bleachingoutlook/outlook_messages/bleachingoutlook_20100907_for_2010sepdec.html) 
> (Watch the recording of Reef Resilience Webinar: Bleaching Outlook for 
> September through December 2010, with Dr. Mark Eakin of the NOAA Coral 
> Reef Watch Program at
> http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/bleachingoutlook/outlook_messages/bleachingoutlook_20100907_for_2010sepdec.html#webinar)
> ******************************************************************
> Analysis and Outlook for Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Bahamas
> --------------------
> Current conditions:
> The CRW satellite monitoring shows that thermal stress levels capable of 
> causing belaching have continued to develop in the southeastern 
> Caribbean since July, bearing a similar signature to the thermal stress 
> observed at the same time period in 2005, the year of a record mass 
> coral bleaching event. The highest thermal stress currently spans the 
> entire Lesser Antilles, from Montserrat to Tobago. Lower levels of 
> stress extend westward across the northern coast of Venezuela, and high 
> stress is also found on the Caribbean coast of Panama and Costa Rica.
> The bleaching stresses in the western Gulf of Mexico and southern 
> Bahamas are still lingering. Earlier stress in Florida, northern 
> Bahamas, and the Greater Antilles has eased, partly due to recent 
> tropical weather. Hurricane Earl left a clear track of cooler water 
> north of the region including reports of cool water at depth in the US 
> Virgin Islands, and other weather disturbances have cooled temperatures 
> from Texas to the Virgin Islands. Mixing and cooling from a hurricane 
> can reduce thermal stress to a reef and prevent severe bleaching 
> (Manzello et al., 2007). Bleaching has been reported in Tobago to the 
> south and mild bleaching in the US Virgin Islands to the north.
> --------------------
> Bleaching outlook:
> The CRW Coral Bleaching Thermal Stress Outlook continues to indicate a 
> high potential for thermal stress capable of causing significant coral 
> bleaching in the southern Caribbean in 2010. The region at greatest risk 
> fills the region east from Nicaragua past the island of Hispaniola to 
> Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles, and south along the Caribbean 
> coasts of Panama and South America. The intensity of the potential 
> thermal stress is predicted to increase through October. The Caribbean 
> typically experiences elevated temperature during the second year of an 
> El Niño event, with the 2009-2010 El Niño ending in May 2010. The region 
> described here as having the highest potential to experience 
> bleaching-levels of thermal stress is the same region that has been 
> anomalously warm throughout 2010. The model is only slightly 
> over-predicting the strength of the current thermal stress, adding to 
> our confidence that this may be a severe bleaching event.
> The lingering bleaching stress in the western Gulf of Mexico and 
> southern Bahamas is expected to dissipate quickly in the next couple of 
> weeks.
> *******************************************************************
> Analysis and Outlook for western Pacific:
> ---------------------
> Current conditions:
> The thermal stress that caused bleaching in Southeast Asia and the 
> Philippines has abated, but temperatures across much of the western 
> tropical Pacific remain above normal at the moment. Some thermal stress 
> has accumulated in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and temperatures 
> remain near the bleaching threshold in that region.
> ---------------------
> As the summer comes to an end in the northern hemisphere, our outlook 
> shows that the thermal stress in the northwestern Pacific is expected to 
> shift south starting in October. The outlook indicates that there is a 
> potential for thermal stress capable of causing bleaching through 
> November in the region south from the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam 
> to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), extending from Palau to 
> Chuuk. This may move to include the northern coast of Papua-New Guinea 
> in December. However, unlike conditions in the Caribbean, most of this 
> western Pacific region has not yet warmed to bleaching levels. The model 
> is over-predicting warming at this time, leading to a hope that 
> bleaching will not be severe.
> *******************************************************************
> [Note: The Coral Reef Watch Bleaching Outlook is an experimental product 
> and should be used as an indicator of potential general patterns rather 
> than a precise predictor of thermal stress at any location. Actual 
> conditions may vary due to model uncertainty, subsequent changes in 
> climatic conditions, extreme localized variability, or weather patterns.]
> *******************************************************************
> Current HotSpot and Degree Heating Week charts and data formatted for
> HDF and Google Earth can be found at:
> http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/index.html
> Time series graphics for index sites can be found at:
> http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/current/sst_series_24reefs.html
> and
> http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/current/experimental_products.html
> You can sign up for automated bleaching alerts at:
> http://coralreefwatch-satops.noaa.gov/SBA.html
> Please report bleaching events (or non-events) at:
> http://www.reefbase.org/contribute/bleachingreport.aspx
> ============================
> NOAA Coral Reef Watch
> coralreefwatch at noaa.gov
> ============================
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C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D.
Coordinator, NOAA Coral Reef Watch
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Center for Satellite Applications and Research
Satellite Oceanography & Climate Division
e-mail: mark.eakin at noaa.gov
url: coralreefwatch.noaa.gov

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