Nearshore, seasonally persistent fronts in sea surface temperature on Red Sea tropical reefs

J. N. Blythe, J. C. B. da Silva, J. Pineda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Temperature variability was studied on tropical reefs off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea using remote sensing from Aqua and Terra satellites. Cross-shore gradients in sea surface temperature (SST) were observed, including cold fronts (colder inshore) during winter and warm fronts (warmer inshore) during summer. Fronts persisted over synoptic and seasonal time-scales and had a periodic annual cycle over a 10-year time-series. Measurements of cross-shore SST variability were conducted at the scale of tens of kilometres, which encompassed temperature over shallow tropical reef complexes and the continental slope. Two tropical reefs that had similar reef geomorphology and offshore continental slope topography had identical cold fronts, although they were separated by 100 km along the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. Satellite SST gradients across contours of topography of tropical reefs can be used as an index to flag areas potentially exposed to temperature stress. © 2011 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1827-1832
Number of pages6
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 8 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): USA 00002, KSA 00011
Acknowledgements: We thank the Ocean Biology Processing Group (Code 614.2), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA, for producing and distributing the ocean colour data. We thank Tom Farrar for discussions about atmospheric and ocean interactions in the Red Sea region, for the meteorological tower wind data, and for critically reviewing a draft of this manuscript, and Igor Belkin and anonymous reviewers for improving it further. JNB thanks Deirdre Byrne and Kenneth Casey of the US National Oceanographic Data Center for discussions on coastal oceanography research using satellite SST data. The research was supported by Awards USA 00002 and KSA 00011 made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) to JP.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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