ESRL Contributes to Experimental Seasonal Coral Bleaching Outlook Tool


July 2, 2008

photo of bleached coral
Bleached coral near Guam, Mariana Islands, Credit: David Burdick

Researchers from NOAA's Coral Reef Watch and the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) have developed a new Seasonal Coral Bleaching Outlook Tool. This system utilizes NOAA experimental sea surface temperature (SST) forecasts to develop a map that predicts the likelihood of seasonal bleaching in the Caribbean. Its availability will be formally announced on July 11, 2008 at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

NOAA's Coral Reef Watch has used satellite SST data to alert managers and scientists around the world of the current risk of coral bleaching. This outlook project, funded by the NOAA Climate Program Office, uses Linear Inverse Modeling forecasts of SSTs up to three months in the future, which were developed by the ESRL Physical Sciences Division.

Coral bleaching is a global issue, which could lead to loss of coral reefs and their marine life inhabitants. The Seasonal Coral Bleaching Outlook Tool provides advance warnings, which can be used to help manage impacts and improve sustainability of coral resources. As part of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), ESRL is partnering across line offices, with other federal agencies, and the international research community to develop a monitoring network to issue outlooks for coral reefs around the globe.

Contact: Cecile Penland More Information: