NOAA Coral Reef Watch,
2015 annual summaries of thermal conditions related to coral bleaching for U.S. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) jurisdictions
Coral Reef Watch
Type Period Note:
"2015 was the warmest year ever recorded on land and in the ocean. On October 2, 2015 NOAA's Coral Reef Watch (CRW) declared the third confirmed global coral bleaching event (after the 1997- 1999 and 2010 global events) was underway, as anomalously warm ocean temperatures were causing widespread coral bleaching in Hawai'i and the Caribbean. This global event began in the North Pacific Ocean in the summer of 2014 and expanded to the South Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Atlantic Ocean in 2015. The event has been closely associated with an extensive warm Blob in the northeastern Pacific Ocean lasting from late 2013 through late 2015, a partially formed 2014-15 El Nino, and a record-strength El Nino event that developed in mid-2015 and peaked in late 2015. This bleaching event is still ongoing in 2016 and will likely persist into 2017. U.S. coral reefs have been hit disproportionately hard. For two years in a row, U.S. coral reefs experienced bleaching on a large spatial scale, including record-breaking events in the Hawaiian Islands, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Florida. Data analysis based on CRW's daily global 5-km satellite monitoring shows that during the two-year period of 2014-2015, 100% of the U.S. coral reef areas experienced some levels of bleaching thermal stress, with Alert Level 2 thermal stress (typically associated with widespread coral bleaching and mortality) experienced by 41% of the U.S. coral reef areas and Alert Level 1 thermal stress (typically associated with significant bleaching) by 30% of the U.S. coral reef areas. Meanwhile, globally 99% of coral reef areas (including U.S. reef areas) experienced some levels of bleaching thermal stress, with only 9% for Alert Level 2 and 22% for Alert Level 1."
FY2015; CRCP Project ID: 915; Project Title: Coral Reef Watch: Satellite and Model-Based Products for Coral Reef Ecosystem Managers; Principal Investigator: Mark Eakin FY2015; CRCP Project ID: 743; Project Title: National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (Climatic Monitoring); Principal Investigator: Justine Kimball