Performance evaluation of CRW reef-scale and broad-scale SST-based coral monitoring products in fringing reef systems of Tobago

Mohammed, Shaazia S., Heron, Scott F., Mahabir, Rajindra, and Clarke, Ricardo M. (2016) Performance evaluation of CRW reef-scale and broad-scale SST-based coral monitoring products in fringing reef systems of Tobago. Remote Sensing, 8 (1). 12. pp. 1-15.

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Satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST) is used to monitor coral bleaching through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Watch (CRW) Decision Support System (DSS). Since 2000, a broad-scale 50 km SST was used to monitor thermal stress for coral reefs globally. However, some discrepancies were noted when applied to small-scale fringing coral reefs. To address this, CRW created a new DSS, specifically targeted at or near reef scales. Here, we evaluated the new reef-scale (5 km resolution) products using in situ temperature data and coral bleaching surveys which were also compared with the heritage broad-scale (50 km) for three reefs (Buccoo Reef, Culloden and Speyside) of the southern Caribbean island of Tobago. Seasonal and annual biases indicated the new 5 km SST generally represents the conditions at these reefs more accurately and more consistently than the 50 km SST. Consistency between satellite and in situ temperature data influences the performance of anomaly-based predictions of bleaching: the 5 km DHW product showed better consistency with bleaching observations than the 50 km product. These results are the first to demonstrate the improvement of the 5 km products over the 50 km predecessors and support their use in monitoring thermal stress of reefs in the southern Caribbean.

Item ID: 42943
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2072-4292
Keywords: coral reefs; coral bleaching; sea surface temperature (SST); satellite remote sensing; NOAA Coral Reef Watch; Tobago; Caribbean
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© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) license (

Funders: University of the West Indies (UWI)
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2016 05:23
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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