Earlier this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) together with its research partners released a report about its predictions for Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes, for throughout the summer.
The report targeted algae and their bloom period, which will be ‘significant’ this year. Although these could reach levels similar to those registered in 2013 or 2014, they will still be lower than 2015’s.
NOAA Predicts Significant Blooms, What Will This Mean?
This is not the first prediction issued by NOAA and its partners regarding the algae bloom. Initial reports found that this year could host a larger than average production. However, this is the final seasonal forecast.
According to it, this year’s bloom could measure 7.5 on the severity index. However, this could also range to anything in between a 6 to a 9.5. Any index above 5 indicates the presence of potentially harmful bloom.
The severity index is calculated based on the amount of toxic algae or biomass over a sustained period. Presently, the highest values of the severity index were reached in 2011, at 10, and then in 2015, with 10.5.
NOAA’s statement also points out that a bloom’s size is necessarily an indicator of its toxicity levels. A large bloom may be less harmful than a smaller one, where the toxins could be more concentrated. As such, the agency is working on developing tools to help predict such levels.
The reports state that, in 2017, significant blooms will appear in western Lake Erie. Harmful algae formations started taking place in late July. Observations showed that they also continued growing bigger. Similar patterns are expected to continue in the upcoming months.
“A bloom of this size is evidence that the research and outreach efforts currently underway to reduce nutrient loading, optimize water treatment, and understand bloom dynamics need to continue,” stated Christopher Winslow.
He is the director of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program and a Ph.D. Still, he continued by indicating that much of Lake Erie will still be algae-free though, throughout the bloom season.
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