The NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW) program uses products derived from JPSS satellite data to provide current reef environmental conditions to quickly identify areas at risk for coral bleaching. Bleaching is the process by which corals lose the beneficial algae that give them their distinctive colors. If a coral is severely bleached, disease and death become likely. Healthy coral reefs provide a significant food source for over a billion people worldwide, buffer coastlines from erosion, and also provide jobs and income from fishing, recreation, tourism, and other reef-ecosystem based businesses. CRW’s Four-Month Bleaching Thermal Stress Outlook of March 3, 2015 indicated significant threats for coral bleaching through June 2015 for the western Pacific and Indian Oceans in areas such as American Samoa, Samoa, Western Australia, and Indonesia.
NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP View Thunderstorms Affecting American Samoa
JPSS Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP showed thunderstorms beginning to increase north and in the vicinity of American Samoa on June 20, 2020, as a surface trough north of the islands began to move southward. Some of these storms produced heavy rainfall (over 6 inches in 9 hours) and strong winds (gusting to 60 mph) according to the National Weather Service Pago Pago compilation of local storm reports. JPSS instruments provide invaluable data for understanding storms and making forecasts up to five to seven days in advance of a severe weather event.