Coral Disease Outbreak Risk Product Maps
(Version 2, released June 11, 2019)

GBR pixel maps
Hawaii pixel maps

The Coral Disease Outbreak Risk is a regional experimental product, currently serving data for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia and for the Hawaiian Archipelago. The risk of disease outbreak is assessed using metrics developed for the coldest (Winter Cold Snap, Winter Conditions) and warmest (Summer Hot Snap) times of year. These are combined to provide a Seasonal Outlook (or Winter Pre-Conditioning) metric, issued at the end of the cold season for each region, and a Current Summer Outbreak Risk metric that is updated in near real-time during the hot season for each region.

The risk assessments were derived using White Syndrome observations from the GBR (Heron et al. 2010). While this reflects only one coral disease group from one region, the satellite-based Coral Disease Outbreak Risk product developed by NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW) may be useful for broader applications. For that reason, it is being compared with monitoring data for White Syndrome, and with observations of other coral disease outbreaks in Hawaii, the GBR, and elsewhere in the Pacific, to determine the applicability of the risk assessment algorithm to various coral disease types and to other coral reef regions.

The Version 2 Coral Disease Outbreak Risk product metrics (available since June 11, 2019, and hindcast from January 1, 1985) are derived using the NOAA CRW daily global 5km-resolution CoralTemp sea surface temperature (SST) product. Version 2 product development was supported with funding from the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP). Additional improvements to and expansion of this product are being funded by the NOAA CRCP and by the NASA Ecological Forecasting Program (Applied Sciences Program), through the University of Hawai'i-Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology. The NASA Ecological Forecasting Program-funded effort is being conducted in close collaboration with James Cook University, the University of Newcastle, and the University of New South Wales, and is part of the multi-year Fore-C project, "Forecasting Coral disease outbreaks across the tropical Pacific Ocean using satellite-derived data". The goal of the proposed research is to develop better models of coral disease outbreak risk across the western tropical Pacific Ocean and embed these improved forecasts into the NOAA CRW decision support system for coral reef ecosystem management.


The Version 1 Coral Disease Outbreak Risk product was developed by NOAA CRW in close collaboration with James Cook University; and with support from the Remote Sensing and Coral Disease Working Groups of the Coral Reef Targeted Research (CRTR) Program and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Version 1 products were derived using CRW's twice-weekly global 50km-resolution SST data.

CRW also collaborated previously in a parallel research effort that explored links between temperature and coral disease based on the ReefTemp product. Predictions of coral disease outbreak using ReefTemp are modeled for the tropical regions of Australia.