National Coral Reef Monitoring Program:
Monitoring Climate-Driven Impacts

NOAA and partners launch a new buoy in Fagatele Bay to monitor changes in ocean chemistry NOAA and partners launch a new buoy in Fagatele Bay to monitor changes in ocean chemistry, including carbon dioxide, which can affect the rich coral reefs and marine species of the bay. (Photo: Nerelle Que/ National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa)

A changing climate is impacting the nation’s coral reef ecosystems. Increases in ocean temperature and changes to ocean chemistry are causing widespread coral bleaching, more frequent disease, and reduced coral growth rates. Key indicators used to identify and monitor climate-driven trends are listed below.

  • Thermal stress - changes in sea temperature
  • Ocean acidification - changes in carbonate chemistry
  • Ecological impacts - data on coral growth rates, erosion, and community structure to understand impacts of thermal stress and ocean acidification on the ecosystem

Data collection methods include moored oceanographic and ecological instruments stationed at fixed points in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, water samples collected by divers, and satellite-based observations.

These extensive monitoring data provide a comprehensive view of climate change impacts on coral reef ecosystems and help identify areas of resilience and vulnerability. The data are also used in modeling efforts.


Field Reports

Outreach Products

Recent Technical and Peer Reviewed Publications

  • 2016 Annual Summaries of Coral Bleaching Conditions for U.S. NCRMP jurisdictions
  • Enochs IC, Manzello DP, Carlton R, Schopmeyer S, van Hooidonk R, Lirman D (2014) Effects of light and elevated pCO2 on the growth and photochemical efficiency of Acropora cervicornis. Coral
    Reefs 33(2):477-485, doi: 10.1007/s00338-014-1132-7
  • DeCarlo TM, Cohen AL, Barkley HC, Cobban Q, Young C, Shamberger KE, Brainard RE, and Golbuu Y (2015) Coral macrobioerosion is accelerated by ocean acidification and nutrients. Geology
    43 (1): 7-10, doi: 10.1130/G36147.1
  • Heron, SF, Liu G, Rauenzahn JL, Christensen TRL, Skirving WJ, Burgess TFR, Eakin CM, Morgan JA. (2014) Improvements to and Continuity of Operational Global Thermal Stress Monitoring for Coral Bleaching, Journal of Operational Oceanography 7(2): 3-11, doi: 10.1080/1755876X.2014.11020154
  • Anthony, KRN, Marshall PA, Abdullah A, Beeden R, Bergh C, Black R, Eakin CM, Game ET, Gooch M, Graham NAJ, Green A, Heron SF, van Hooidonk R, Knowland C, Mangubhai S, Marshall N, Maynard JA, McGinnity P, McLeod E, Mumby PJ, Nyström M, Obura D, Oliver J, Possingham HP, Pressey RL, Rowlands GP, Tamelander J, Wachenfeld D, Wear S (2014) Operationalising resilience for adaptive coral reef management under global environmental change, Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.12700.

Complete list of publications produced by the NCRMP Climate Assessment Team.


Data Collections

Supporting Documentation (Please note this encompasses only a subset of documentation for the submitted data. Contact the data providers with further questions.)

MAPCO2 Moorings (Carbon Dioxide time-series observations)

For more information, contact: