News and views, and history and humor, about the lake I love.

"I can hear my granddad's stories of the storms out on Lake Erie, where vessels and cargos and fortunes, and sailors' lives were lost." ~ James Taylor, Millworker

Friday, September 16, 2011

Algae Bloom: There's Good News and Bad News

MERIS image from the European Space Agency. Imagery shows the spectral shape at 681 nm from September 14, where colored pixels indicate the likelihood of the last known position of the Microcystis spp. bloom (with red being the highest concentration). Microcystis spp. abundance data from shown as white squares (very high), circles (high), diamonds (medium), triangles (low) , + (very low) and X (not present).
The latest Algal Bloom Bulletin from NOAA states that, while the Microcystis is still blooming in Western Lake Erie, "The concentrations, particularly on the surface have been greatly reduced since last week." This is most likely because of the increased wind stress of the last few days, which mixes up the surface mass. 

That's the good news. The bad news is: "Forecast wind stress is low and water temperatures are still warm, therefore, the bloom biomass is expected to resurface over the weekend." Because much of the biomass is subsurface, it's not visible to the satellite. The forecast is for westward transport, however it is likely that any westward transport will be overwhelmed by resurfacing cells.

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