The health and continued viability of coral reefs throughout the world is in danger due to rising sea surface temperature (SST) as a result of climate change. Satellite-derived SST is therefore an important tool for researching the effects of and monitoring coral stress caused by anomalous SSTSST-based anomaly products that have been designed specifically for corals, such as those produced by the NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW) program are key to understanding and monitoring the effects of SST anomalies on coral health.


Researching the effects of and monitoring coral stress caused by anomalous SST.


User Requirements Document

At the Science Team Meeting XX in 2019, the Science Team (ST) asked the Coral Heat Stress User Requirements Task Team to make recommendations on satellite SST requirements for use by coral scientists, users and coral reef managers. In 2020 the Task Team (TT) reported its findings to the ST at GHRSST Science Team Meeting XXI and published an initial report, the  Coral Heat Stress User SST Requirements. In the summer of 2021, an updated document was presented to the Science Team:

Updates to the User Requirements Document

The Task Team has updated the GHRSST Coral Heat Stress Task Team (TT) user requirements document to include the following:

  • requirements for other uses of SST other than the quantification of heat stress;
  • an update to the current set of requirements to take account of evolving coral knowledge, e.g. recent work points to the need for an understanding of the entire diurnal cycle in and around a coral reef.

Next steps:

Clearly there is a useful story in this work however there is a lot to do before that story can be told in a useful and informative manner.
• Create a more direct comparison
• Use of same satellites and sensors
• Possible use of L2 data
• Find more logger data
• Locate satellite pixels closer to loggers
• Match time of logger data to satellites more precisely
• Other considerations
• Do tides alter logger/satellite relationships? Bathymetry, Turbidity?
• Is there a preferred time relative to daylight or tides for satellite overpass?
• Is there a need for reef-specific cloud detection algorithms?
• Is there a need for reef-specific SST retrieval algorithms?



Co-Chairs: William Skirving (NOAA), Jonathan Mittaz (Univ. Reading)


Derek Manzello – NOAA Coral Reef Watch, USA
Blake Spady – NOAA Coral Reef Watch, USA
Gang Liu – NOAA Coral Reef Watch, USA
Andrew Norrie – NOAA Coral Reef Watch, USA
Neal Cantin – Australian Institute of Marine Science,
Chris Merchant – University of Reading, UK
Simon Good – Met Office, UK
Mark Worsford – Met Office, UK
Kelvin Michael – University of Tasmania, Australia
Simon Donner – University of British Columbia, Canada
Claire Spillman – Bureau of Meteorology, Australia
Robert Johnson – Bureau of Meteorology, Australia
Helen Beggs – Bureau of Meteorology, Australia
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg – University of Queensland, Australia
Sophie Dove – University of Queensland, Australia


Please contact the co-chairs directly:

  • William Skirving,
  • Jonathan Mittaz,
  • Craig Steinberg,