To assess the influence of thermal anomalies on coral communities, the NOAA Coral Reef Watch program in partnership with the University of South Florida, NASA Ames Research Center, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Center, and the University of Colorado has developed a suite of products that help monitor and forecast global coral bleaching at high spatial resolutions. Thermal anomaly products at 1 km spatial resolution have been developed for the West Florida Shelf using both Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and MODIS Aqua satellite imagery.
These products were derived as follows. AVHRR Pathfinder (version 5.0) nighttime-only sea surface temperature (SST) data were used to create a gap-filled climatology from 1985 – 2006 and from it a maximum monthly mean climatology was derived.
AVHRR HotSpots are the difference between the AVHRR nighttime-only SST and the AVHRR climatology, while MODIS HotSpots are the difference between the MODIS Aqua 11 µm nighttime-only SST and the AVHRR climatology.
Both Degree Heating Weeks (DHWs) products count positive HotSpots equal or higher to 1°C in a 12-week window. When DHW values are between 4 - 8, significant coral bleaching is likely, and the potential for coral disease increases. DHWs values higher than 8 indicates where mass coral bleaching and significant mortality are likely.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 220.127.116.11.0