Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) stations consist of a basic suite of sensors, plus additional ones, depending upon local research the stations hope to support, and upon available funding. The basic suite of meteorological and air-based sensors measure air temperature, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) and ultraviolet radiation (UVR). The basic suite of oceanographic sensors measure salinity, sea temperature, PAR (at 1m nominal) and UVR (at 1m nominal). In addition to these sensors, a data acquisition system gathers and averages the data, then transmits the hourly averages via a GOES satellite to NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) data download facility at Wallops Island, Virginia, where the data are then acquired in turn via automated procedures for saving and processing at NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in Miami, Florida. Once the data arrive at AOML they are processed with a suite of expert systems which determine whether the data being received are within a reasonable range, and whether certain environmental conditions are conducive to specific marine behavioral events (e.g., bleaching). CREWS stations are part of the Integrated Coral Observing Network (thus ICON/CREWS).
The CREWS system has been successful used in modeling and alerts of coral bleaching conditions in the Florida Keys and the Great Barrier Reef, and it is NOAA's intent to expand this alerting capability to other coral reef areas, and to better refine and enhance its alerting capabilities beyond coral bleaching. The development of the CREWS coral bleaching and other coral reef-related alert and modeling expert systems are therefore of necessity dependent upon the expertise of problem domain experts, such as those who study coral bleaching, coral reef growth, etc.
The figure at the right shows an ideal distribution of CREWS stations in a CREWS Network. This is one of the goals of the CHAMP program, and continues through collaborations with national and international partners.
For more information on the instrumental architecture of CREWS stations, please click here.
CREWS data are part of the ICON Ecoforecasting site. Click here to obtain those data.