Marine heat waves, named after their analogous terrestrial counterparts, are prolonged periods of anomalously high sea surface temperature. They are usually caused by unusual weather patterns, either causing more heat to go into the ocean, or suppressing heat coming out.
Aqualink is building a global scale in-situ temperature measuring system that is enabling a deeper understanding of the heat stress experienced by particular marine ecosystems. Although sea surface temperature is available from satellites, scientists are eager to know the temperature at depth, where the coral, kelp, or other marine organisms live, and how similar, or dissimilar, this is to the temperature at the surface.
The Aqualink Marine Heat Wave Tracker will aggregate isolated marine heat wave events. It will combine the buoy data across the region to paint a picture of the intensity of the event, and compare the current measurements with historical context and current scientific understanding and prediction.
Here's Why We're On The Case:
By deploying groups of Aqualink buoys to cover a region expecting to experience a marine heatwave, we can use the buoys to measure the progress and severity of the event as it moves through the water column. Simply put: we can find the villain.
In partnership with Sofar Ocean, Aqualink designed a solar-powered smart buoy that measures the temperature at the ocean floor. Building and deploying these around the world, they can begin to build a dataset that helps in understanding where and when heat stress in the ocean will occur.
Aqualink created a web interface that gives the tools to hundreds of local teams to upload and structure observations. Working with coral scientists, they generate easy-to-use instruction manuals for conducting reef surveys and implementing response plans, all of which will be facilitated through the monitoring system.
The monitoring system relays temperature information in real-time, giving us some of the needed data to detect coral bleaching events early and put response plans in place.
Open Source Data
The lack of a centralized repository has made data access for the general public hard to navigate. All development from this grant will be open source and the data is available for everyone: