Quinn, N.J.*; Newell, P.: Subsurface sea water temperatures and the year 2000 coral bleaching event in Fijian waters
Analysis of three years of subsurface sea water temperatures at several sites shows increased temperatures receeding the year 2000 coral bleaching event. Hugrun automated temperaure recorders were deployed at 3m at twelve sites and programed to record temperature hourly. Temperatures in early 2000 were 1oC to oC warmer than during previous years. Off shore temperatures in Bligh Passage in previous years ranged from 24oC to 28oC. However, in the period preceeding and during the coral bleaching event the temperature range was 26oC to 29oC. The period of coolest temperatures was typically July to early October. Temperatures in Bligh Passage seldom dropped below 25.5oC. Although temperatures on fringing reefs around islands were more variable they also exhibited a similar temperature increase as off shore sites. The reefs near Suva were influenced by freshwater discharges from the Rewa River. Sudden changes in temperature were correlated with large discharges of freshwater using a conductivity meter. Temperatures in the lagoonal waters off western Vite Levu were typically warmer than other sites.