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Hope for Reefs-Global coral reef monitoring in Real-Time

Coral reefs are like the ‘Rainforests of the Ocean’; they are the most diverse ecosystem on Earth, even though they make up only 0 .1% of the ocean floor. They are home to more than 25% of marine species; more than a half billion humans around the world rely on coral reefs.

Unfortunately, these precious reefs, along with millions of species that inhabit them, are under threat primarily due to climate change and a series of human activities. Coral reefs are vulnerable to temperature changes, leading to coral bleaching and infectious disease. It is essential to monitor the coral reef globally to target conservation activities. Field-based monitoring lacks information about remote localities and it is costly and time consuming. This makes the use of remote sensing a key system in identifying these locations.

NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Coral Reef Watch (CRW), which was established in 2000, is a free online tool for the analysis of global Sea Surface Temperature (SST) and to provide global early-warning. It evaluates the frequency and intensity of heat stress, potentially resulting in coral bleaching.

In May 2021, Allen Coral Atlas launched the world’s first satellite-based coral bleaching monitoring system .Using high-resolution satellite imagery helps us to see where and to what extent coral bleaching is likely to occur. In fact, we get a bleaching event in near-real time. NOAA’s daily Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies are used to indicate the level of warning. The Allen Coral Atlas begins processing Sentinel 2 data when a region enters a level of “Bleaching Warning” or high in the NOAA system and stops processing when a region goes from “warning” to “No stress”.(Source: )

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Allen Coral Atlas platform showing Great Barrier Reef on 31 January 2022

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