Coral mass bleaching extent 1998

Posted on 16 January 2009

The purpose of this study was to provide a large-scale documentation of the extent of bleaching, for comparison against SST and other bleaching events.

The data record the large-scale bleaching event on the GBR in 1998, mapped by aerial survey method. Surveys were conducted at a flying height of 160 m and covered a total of 654 reefs. Data are estimated bleaching status of whole reefs, conducted by one experienced observer (RB). The surveys were conducted soon after the hottest period was over, a compromise between ensuring that bleaching on reefs was as advanced as possible but before major mortality had set in. Approximately 42% of reefs bleached to some extent in 1998, with ~18% strongly bleached.

  • Ray Berkelmans (AIMS)
  • Australian Institute of Marine Science
Owner Institution(s)

Five-point rating: 0 (<1% bleached), 1 (1–10% bleached), 2 (10–30% bleached), 3 (30–60% bleached), and 4 (>60% bleached).

Data Units
Great Barrier Reef (whole GBR).
Region & Spatial Extent
Data Collection
One-off surveys; completed.
Maintenance & Update Frequency
Copyright remains with the data owner.
Resource Constraints
  • Berkelmans R, Oliver JK (1999) Large scale bleaching of corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 18:55–60
  • Berkelmans R, De’ath G, Kininmonth S, Skirving WJ (2004) A comparison of the 1998 and 2002 coral bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef: spatial correlation, patterns, and predictions. Coral Reefs 23: 74–83
Google Earth Data