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

GBR pixel maps
Hawaii pixel maps

The Coral Disease Outbreak Risk is a regional experimental product, currently serving data for the Hawaiian archipelago and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The risk is assessed using metrics developed for the coldest (Cold Snap, Winter Conditions) and warmest (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 Current Summer Outbreak Risk 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 Great Barrier Reef (Heron et al. 2010). While this reflects only one coral disease group from one region, the product may be useful for broader applications. This predictive tool will be compared against monitoring data for White Syndrome and with observations of other infectious diseases of corals to determine the applicability of the risk assessment algorithm to various disease types.

The Version 2 Coral Disease Outbreak Risk products (available since June 11, 2019, and hindcast from January 1, 1985) are derived using the NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW) daily global 5km-resolution 'CoralTemp' sea surface temperature (SST) product. Version 2 product development was partially supported with funding from NASA's Ecological Forecasting Program (Applied Sciences Program), through the University of Hawai'i-Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology, and was conducted in close collaboration with James Cook University, the University of Newcastle, and the University of New South Wales. This effort 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.