Cold-water stress in Florida Bay and northern Bahamas: a product of winter cold-air outbreaks.

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During January 1977 three consecutive cold fronts crossed S Florida and the northern Bahamas which depressed shallow-water temperatures below the lethal limit for most reef corals. Digital thermal infrared data acquired by the NOAA-5 meteorological satellite, in situ water temperatures, and meteorological data were used to study the thermal evolution of Florida Bay and Bahama Bank waters. Coral mortality at Dry Tortugas was up to 91% during the 1977 event. Coral and fish kills were also reported from other parts of the Florida Reef Tract and northern Bahamas. Study results show that cold-water stress conditions can exist over vast shallow- water areas and have residence times of several days.-from Authors.

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Journal of Sedimentary Petrology

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