Satellite-derived sea surface temperature from Caribbean and Atlantic coral reef sites, 1984-2003

R.L. Hayes, T.J. Goreau
2007 Revista de Biología Tropical  
A database of monthly average sea surface temperature (SST) from 1984-2003 has been developed from U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Polar Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) Advanced very High Resolution Radiometer (AvHRR) records, corresponding to geographic coordinates for 51 reef tracts throughout the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. These data represent part of a collective SST record for 206 globally-distributed coral reef sites in the Global Coral Reef
more » ... Global Coral Reef Alliance (GCRA) Coral Reef SST Database ( The temperature series covers two full decades of active climate change and marine ecosystem responses, during which mass coral reef bleaching, emerging diseases, biodiversity losses, species mortalities, fisheries declines, and reef frame degradation have been reported. Reef ecosystem changes appear when the monthly SST anomaly exceeds 1.0ºC above warm season averages, defined as a Hot Spot. if the anomaly reaches 2ºC or more and/or if the duration of the anomaly is prolonged at the same site, the ecological responses are more severe. Linear trend lines and regression coefficients for the SST at each site document both the degree and rate of temperature change, allowing comparisons to be made among sites. impacts from coastal upwelling that circulates deep, cool and nutrient-rich water to the surface and alters the productivity of reef fisheries are embedded within the SST record. Maximum and minimum temperature exposures, yearly variations in SST, and seasonal fluctuations may be analyzed from the database. These calibrated and comparative data serve to describe how SST trends at a site contrast or conform to neighboring upstream or downstream sites. Site-specific thermal records offer a basis for developing individualized management strategies and for formulating unique conservation policies for regional reefs. The differences among temperature trends in the database may account for the degradation of some reefs and the relative sparing of others. From this historical record of thermal conditions on coral reefs, we may generate early alerts about potential marine ecosystem responses from persistent climate change. Rev. Biol. Trop. 56 (Suppl. 1): 97-118. Epub 2008 May 30.
doi:10.15517/rbt.v56i0.5580 fatcat:oq6c2cax2zhjrfj3tpujfpub6q