Keeping Watch On Coral Reefs

Student Worksheet

Two conditions that have been linked to coral bleaching are water temperatures that exceed 30°C and little or no surface wind. Your assignment is to use satellite data to investigate whether these conditions have occurred during the past week at three coral reef areas. These reefs are:

Part 1 - Follow these steps to obtain the necessary information about sea surface temperatures (SST):

  1. Go to http://coastwatch.noaa.gov/interface/interface.html
  2. Build your Query:
    1. In the “View Results as” window, select “As Images”
    2. In the “Select a Region” window, select “Caribbean” or “Gulf of Mexico”
    3. In the “Select Product” window, select “Sea Surface Temperature”
    4. In the Sensor Select window, select all of the options
    5. In the Satellite window, select all of the options (NOTE: Select all of the options for sensors and satellites because you may not be sure which systems are operating during the dates of interest. This search will retrieve all available images for the dates you specify, so you can select the ones that are most useful.)
    6. In the From and To date windows, enter the dates that correspond to the past week.
  3. Click on “Search”
  4. Select imagery for each of the three reefs, and determine the sea surface temperature (SST).

Part 2 - Follow these steps to obtain the necessary information about surface winds data:

  1. Go to http://coastwatch.noaa.gov/interface/interface.html
  2. Build your Query:
    1. In the “View Results as” window, select “As Images”
    2. In the “Select a Region” window, select “Caribbean” or “Gulf of Mexico”
    3. In the “Select Product” window, select “Surface Winds”
    4. In the Sensor Select window, select all of the options
    5. In the Satellite window, select all of the options
    6. In the From and To date windows, enter the dates enter the dates that correspond to the past week.
  3. Click on “Search”
  4. Select imagery for each of the three reefs, and determine the surface winds.

 

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