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Belize Barrier and Atoll Reefs

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Part of the Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series book series (EESS)

Definition

The Belize barrier and atoll reefs form the largest modern reef system in the Atlantic Ocean. Belize, formerly British Honduras, is located in a subtropical climate with air temperatures from 25 to 29°C and water temperatures that range from 24 to 32°C on average (Wantland and Pusey, 1975). Trade winds blow from the east and northeast for most of the year. Climate is also influenced by the position of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), which is positioned over Belize in the summer–fall causing elevated rainfall. The ITCZ moves to the south in winter–spring, which results in lower precipitation rates. Rainfall rates on the mainland increase from 150 cm/year in the north to >400 cm/year in the mountainous south. Belize is a microtidal area with a tidal range of <0.3 m. Major hurricanes have repeatedly hit Belize and are a major factor of reef development and disturbance (Stoddart, 1963). In 1998, a combination of a major hurricane and an extensive bleaching event led...

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Belize Barrier and Atoll Reefs. Figure 1
Belize Barrier and Atoll Reefs. Figure 2
Belize Barrier and Atoll Reefs. Figure 3
Belize Barrier and Atoll Reefs. Figure 4
Belize Barrier and Atoll Reefs. Figure 5
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Belize Barrier and Atoll Reefs. Figure 7

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Gischler, E. (2011). Belize Barrier and Atoll Reefs. In: Hopley, D. (eds) Encyclopedia of Modern Coral Reefs. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2639-2_45

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