Using Data to Identify Hot Spots and Predict Bleaching Events
Part B: Bleaching Hot Spots
Scientists have found that corals begin to get stressed when the sea surface temperature (SST) gets just 1°C warmer than the highest expected temperature for the warmest month of the year. This temperature is called the bleaching threshold. SST can be monitored using Earth-orbiting satellites, which are able to keep a continuous watch on the state of the oceans around the globe. Data from these satellites are vital for predicting and fighting coral bleaching.
- To identify areas at risk for bleaching, start by looking for places where SSTs are warmer than normal. Go to NOAA's Coral Reef Watch home page. Click on the HotSpot icon in the left-hand navigation bar to access the most up-to-date bleaching hot spot data. The Coral Reef Watch HotSpot maps highlight those areas around the world where sea surface temperatures are above the maximum monthly mean (MMM).
- Data are updated daily. Click on the Global link in the row for Regional Images to see a larger global map of hot spot data.
- Examine the map to familiarize yourself with how the data are reported.