Liu, G; Strong, AE; Skirving, W; Brainard, R; Kenyon, J; Wong, KB
Satellite detection of 2002 coral bleaching in the Hawaiian archipelago
American Association of Limnology and the Oceanography Society
ASLO/TOS Ocean Research 2004 Conference
During the 2002 summer, a major coral bleaching event occurred throughout the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The NOAA Coral Reef Watch's satellite near-real-time coral bleaching HotSpot/Degree Heating Week (DHW) monitoring system successfully detected the development of anomalously high Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the region during the summer and issued a warning of potential bleaching well before bleaching was reported. A field survey was conducted in conjunction with the satellite monitoring as well as in situ temperature observations from the Coral Reef Early Warning System buoys operated in the area by the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Coral Reef Ecosystem Division. In this study, the accuracy and efficiency of the satellite monitoring are examined using in situ observations. Retrospective HotSpot and DHW charts are derived from the NOAA/NASA Pathfinder Ocean AVHRR SST datasets for the region to investigate the relationship between the occurrence and magnitude of bleaching inducing thermal stress and major climate events, such as El Nio/La Nia, during 1985-2002. Highlighted events of anomalously high SSTs during the time period shown by HotSpot/DHWs demonstrate good agreement with bleaching observations.