On Thursday September 05, Dr. C. Mark Eakin, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), held a session at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) on the latest products used to monitor coral reefs.
Coral reefs are extremely valuable as they contribute trillions of dollars to our worldwide economy every year. Their management and conservation, thereafter, is imperative. Coral bleaching events however, are currently threatening this invaluable ecosystem. Caused by the increase of ocean water temperature, coral bleaching interrupts the symbiotic relationship between corals and algae causing the death of many corals all over the world.
NOAA’s new technology uses satellites and modeled data to provide information about the conditions of the environment helping identify areas at risk of coral reef bleaching events. This valuable information can help researchers monitor and respond to potential threats. Using infrared-sensitive sensors, the satellites are able to send information used calculate the temperature of the water. At the same time, the 5-km next generation products allow for higher resolution and more accurate results.
Starting the session with an overview of Coral Reef Watch Satellites and concluding it with questions about NOAA’s products and suggestions on how to improve them, Dr. Eakin also talked about climate model-based products for coral reef management including ocean color, thermal history and larval connectivity. At the same time, the availability of outreach and educational products on the NOAA website was also discussed.