Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Forecasts to warn of toxic algae along the Texas coast

Environment News Service: From now on, Texas officials and coastal managers will receive early notice of red tides and other toxic algae outbreaks that could threaten public health and affect beach and fishing activities along the coast. Currently, there is currently no indication of a harmful algal bloom along the Texas coast, or in Florida, the other coastal region where managers receive notice of harmful algal blooms. But when the algae do bloom, typically in late summer, managers will learn about them earlier than they have in the past.

Weekly bulletins generated by the Harmful Algal Bloom Operational Forecast System run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, are based on observations from state partners, coupled with models, imagery and data from NOAA's powerful tide and current and weather systems.

"Early notification of blooms is essential, and knowing that a bloom is occurring offshore provides our resource managers with sufficient time to coordinate with other responding agencies and formulate a plan before blooms hit the beaches," said Meredith Byrd, harmful algal bloom response coordinator for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

NOAA has had an operational forecast in the eastern Gulf of Mexico for harmful algal blooms off the Florida coast since 2004 and now, with the expansion of the operational system, analysts will be available to review conditions daily with coastal managers from all of the Gulf of Mexico states. The most common harmful algal bloom that occurs in the Gulf of Mexico is known as red tide and is caused by the algal species Karenia brevis….

Pilings on the beach in Galveston after Hurricane Ike in 2008, shot by P/\UL / Paul Randall, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

No comments: