Measurements of the surface energy balance over a coral reef flat, Heron Island, southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia

McGowan, Hamish A., Sturman, Andrew P., Mackellar, Mellissa C., Wiebe, Andrew H. and Neil, David T. (2010) Measurements of the surface energy balance over a coral reef flat, Heron Island, southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 15 19: D19124-1-D19124-12. doi:10.1029/2010JD014218


Author McGowan, Hamish A.
Sturman, Andrew P.
Mackellar, Mellissa C.
Wiebe, Andrew H.
Neil, David T.
Title Measurements of the surface energy balance over a coral reef flat, Heron Island, southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Journal name Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0148-0227
1934-8843
1934-8592
2156-2202
Publication date 2010-10
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1029/2010JD014218
Volume 15
Issue 19
Start page D19124-1
End page D19124-12
Total pages 12
Place of publication Washington, DC, U.S.A.
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract Coral reefs are thought to face significant threat from global warming due to increased water temperatures and ocean acidity. However, research into the surface energy balance of coral reefs and their associated micrometeorology is rare. Here we present, through a case study approach, the first direct in situ measurements of the surface energy balance of Heron Reef, a small platform coral reef in the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Surface energy exchanges were measured using the eddy covariance method and show that during winter and spring an estimated 80-98% of net radiation goes into heating of the water overlaying the reef and reef substrate. As a result, cloud cover is considered the dominant control on heating of the reef flat environment. Change in cloud cover may therefore significantly affect the thermal environment of coral reefs and their ecology. Sensible and latent heat fluxes reached their highest values during wintertime advection of dry and cool continental air blowing from mainland Australia. This resulted in a net loss of energy from the reef flat and a decreasing trend in water temperature. Turbulent fluxes otherwise remained small, with sensible heat flux often close to zero. Results indicate that coral reefs may act as heat sinks during winter and as heat sources during spring, thereby affecting local water and atmosphere heat budgets and associated thermodynamics. Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.
Keyword Eddy-covariance method
Bleaching events
Lake evaporation
Flux
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article number D19124.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2011 Collection
 
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Created: Wed, 17 Nov 2010, 09:48:14 EST by Associate Professor Hamish Mcgowan on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management