Latest detailed observed forecast and environmental conditions
Over summer, we monitor the health of the Great Barrier Reef to see how it's faring, as this time brings an increased risk of extreme weather, particularly heat waves, cyclones and flooding.
A detailed overview of the environmental conditions on the Reef is available below, and an overview of current conditions is also available.
Updates on current conditions are provided as part of our Reef Health Incident Response System.
Update 2: 5 January 2017
|Environmental condition||Observations||Forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology|
Sea surface temperature (°C)
As of 5 January 2017, sea surface temperatures are generally warmer than average throughout most of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Temperatures are currently about 0.5–1 degree Celsius (°C) above the long-term average for this time of year. Generally, inshore waters just north of Innisfail south to Mackay are at the upper end of this range.
Accumulated heat stress, in the form of degree heating days, is calculated by accumulating positive daily sea surface temperature anomalies. This is relative to the appropriate long-term monthly mean, for 1 December to 31 March. Degree heating day values can represent a broad range of thermal stress; e.g. three days at 1°C above the local long-term average results in the same degree heating day value as one day at 3°C.
Since 1 December 2016, most of the Marine Park has accumulated less than 10 degree heating days. However, inshore areas from Innisfail to Mackay have accumulated between 20 and 40*.
|Tropical cyclones||There has been no cyclone activity in the Marine Park so far this season.|
Since 1 October 2016, rainfall levels in the Great Barrier Reef catchment have been as much as 1200 mm below average compared to the long-term average for the wet season (October to April). Currently, rainfall is about 80 per cent below the average for Queensland as a whole (Bureau of Meteorology).
There have been no major flood plumes in the Marine Park so far this season.
Available stream flow data (from the month of October) showed low stream flow in the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
* As a comparison with the same time last year, most of the Reef had accumulated up to 10 degree heating days as of January 8, 2016. However, inshore areas south of Tully had generally accumulated between 20 and 30 degree heating days with small pockets at 40.
If you're heading out on the water, don't forget your free Zoning Map so you know where you can go and what you can do.
We're delighted to celebrate the 40 years of the managing the Great Barrier Reef.
Visit our Great Barrier Reef and discover its amazing animals, plants, and habitats.
Everyone has a role to play in protecting our Great Barrier Reef. Find out what you can do to help protect this great Australian icon.
If you see sick, dead or stranded marine animals please call RSPCA QLD 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)
A Vulnerability Assessment: of the issues that could have far-reaching consequences for the Great Barrier Reef.
Current Conditions: Environmental and climatic forecasts for the Great Barrier Reef