The Climate Variability and Change Group at the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CAWCR) has released a series of important tools for tracking and projecting thermal stress and coral bleaching months ahead of their appearance on coral reefs. After receiving an e-mail from Dr Claire Spillman, I immediately downloaded into my Google Earth and was impressed by the depth of information available on a geographic basis through these tools. To view please see: http://poama.bom.gov.au/experimental/poama15/sp_gbr.htm
Experimental real-time products available for the tropical oceans (30N-30S) include:
- SST anomalies for leads 0-5 months (e.g. see the decay of the La Nina in the Pacific Ocean)
- Probability of SSTA >= 0.6C
- Degree Heating Months (DHM) – a measure of thermal stress
- Probability of DHM >= 2.0
- SSTA Skill for leads 0-5 months
Hindcasts of SSTA and DHM, together with skill, are also available for viewing in Google Earth. This capability was developed at the request of the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), who are one of the primary users of our seasonal ocean forecasts. These forecasts form an important component of the Early Warning System in the GBRMPA Coral Bleaching Response Plan. Some of these products are already available externally as operational products (via Ocean Services) and others as experimental products (via POAMA web pages) and have been published/accepted in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.