Reef Report for Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Very Rainy Season Benefits Great Barrier Reef
Coral bleaching risk is low for the remainder of the summer.
This has been a very wet year along the tropical Queensland coast. At our home we use two very crude measurements of rainfall: 1. How frequently do we have to drain the swimming pool, and: 2.
How long does the grass get in the front yard before we get a couple of days together so it can be mowed? By those crude standards (we have drained the pool weekly, and the lawn seems more a rainforest than a neatly groomed patch of turf!) it’s been very wet the past few months.
Fortunately science can measure these things more definitively. The tropical north coast has received nearly one metre of rainfall since December, and today…well it’s raining again!
So what’s this have to do with the Great Barrier Reef? The cloud cover, lower temperatures, rain-related winds, and the rainfall itself helps cool the sea surface, which has resulted in sea surface temperatures on the reef that are well below those that can cause coral bleaching.
The months of most concern (January and February) are now behind us, and the risk of a coral bleaching even this year is low. This is great news, but still looming out in the future is the potential for much higher ocean temperatures caused by global warming. We’d like to hope that perhaps rainfall will increase with temperatures, and help keep ocean temperatures from reaching the coral bleaching threshold, but we’d like to see definitive action be taken to reduce the production of Carbon Dioxide, and will continue to move our own lifestyle to be more carbon neutral.
Coverage of this story, by ABC Radio.
Ranfall map of Queensland, Dec. 2006-March 2007
Curent Sea Surface Temparature Map of Queensland..
The weekly reef report is written by Joel Groberg of DiveTheReef.com,
who compiles them from the many conversations he has with dive staff in the area, as well as many other local sources in the dive
Index of all reef reports.