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NASA Helps Monitor Bleaching of Great Barrier Reef

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    NASA Helps Monitor Bleaching of Great Barrier Reef US: April 6, 2006 WASHINGTON - NASA satellites that monitor ocean color and temperature have joined a global
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2006
      NASA Helps Monitor Bleaching of Great Barrier Reef

      US: April 6, 2006

      WASHINGTON - NASA satellites that monitor ocean color and temperature
      have joined a global effort to study the worrisome bleaching of coral in
      Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the US space agency said on Wednesday.

      Coral reefs get bleached when water is too warm, which forces out tiny
      algae that live in the coral and help it to thrive and give it its vivid
      color, NASA said in a statement. Without these algae, coral can whiten
      and eventually die.
      "Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the largest and most complex system of
      reefs in the world, and like so many of the coral reefs in the world's
      oceans, it's in trouble," said oceanographer Gene Carl Feldman of NASA's
      Goddard Space Flight Center outside Washington.

      NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites offer data about ocean surface
      temperature and color, available online within three hours of the
      satellites' pass. Color is linked to the concentration of chlorophyll in
      ocean plants, and shows changes in the ocean's biological productivity.

      Researcher Scarla Weeks at the University of Queensland, Australia, use
      the satellite data to observe changes in sea surface temperatures and
      ocean primary productivity along the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding
      waters.

      "The Great Barrier Reef is an icon, and we just want to know what we can
      do to save it," said Weeks in the statement. "Sea surface temperatures
      over the last five months are actually higher in certain locations now
      than they were in 2002 when we witnessed the worst bleaching incident to
      date."

      More information and images are available online at:
      http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2006/coral_bleach.html.

      http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/35918/story.htm
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