Health department study to help forecast algal booms

Government forecasts for harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie will likely become more accurate thanks to a scientific study carried out by the Erie County Health Department.
Tom Jackson
Jan 28, 2013

The toxic blue-green blooms became a major issue after record-sized blooms appeared in late summer 2011.

The blooms last year were unusually small, but bigger blooms are expected to return.

That’s where forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration come in.

The agency takes satellite photos of algal blooms in Lake Erie, but wanted to see how its photographs of blooms, and its formula for predicting the spread of algal blooms, matches up with what’s actually happening in the water, including the quantities of harmful bacteria that produce harmful algal blooms. (Harmful blooms in the lake are produced by bacteria rather than algae.)

For more on how the local program works and how it might help researchers track blooms, pick up a copy of Monday's Register.