Satellites & Bleaching

50-km Coral Bleaching HotSpot

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satellite coral bleaching HotSpots

Shown here is an example 50-km Coral Bleaching HotSpot map for the Eastern Hemisphere. Click the image for more information and a larger view of the latest near-real-time global 50-km HotSpot data.

Coral Reef Watch's 50-km Coral Bleaching HotSpot product highlights those areas around the world where the SST is above the maximum monthly mean (MMM) observed by NOAA's polar-orbiting satellites.

All white areas are at or below the MMM temperature. Light purple means that the SST is above the MMM but still below the bleaching threshold. Yellow to red regions are above the bleaching threshold (HotSpot = 1°C), and corals in those areas are experiencing thermal stress that leads to bleaching. The values show the number of degrees Celsius above the MMM. On the Coral Reef Watch website, you can also find animations of the 50-km HotSpot data for the past 2 to 6 months.

Coral Bleaching HotSpot information is available for all of the 50-km Virtual Station sites using the time-series graphs. A HotSpot is identified any time the SST goes above the MMM (dashed light-blue line). An example HotSpot is highlighted in orange below:

time series graph

The HotSpot concept was developed based on earlier work by Goreau & Hayes (1994) and Montgomery & Strong (1995).

Try our hands-on 50-km Coral Bleaching HotSpot exercises to learn more about this product.

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