ReefTemp Next Generation is a high resolution mapping product that provides information on coral bleaching risk for the Great Barrier Reef region. High ocean temperatures are the primary cause of mass coral bleaching events. Bleaching is a stress response of corals during unfavourable conditions, whereby they expel their symbiotic phyotosynthetic algae (zooxanthellae), giving rise to the typical white colouration observed. Bleaching has been observed on the Great Barrier Reef since 1982, with severe bleaching events occurring in the summers of 1998, 2002 and 2006. Coral mortality appears to increase with the intensity of the bleaching event, which is determined by how much and for how long temperatures remain above the maximum mean summer temperatures. With future climate change projections indicating increased frequency and severity of mass coral bleaching events, ReefTemp Next Generation improves our ability to monitor heat stress on the Great Barrier Reef. The new ReefTemp Next Generation system was developed by the Bureau of Meteorology for
, under the
National Plan for Environmental Information
(NPEI) initiative. A research Version 1 (V1) system, available from 2007, was the result of a collaborative project between the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.