Thursday, April 11, 2013

Extreme algal blooms: The new normal?

Space Daily: A research team, led by Carnegie's Anna Michalak, has determined that the 2011 record-breaking algal bloom in Lake Erie was triggered by long-term agricultural practices coupled with extreme precipitation, followed by weak lake circulation and warm temperatures. The team also predicts that, unless agricultural policies change, the lake will continue to experience extreme blooms. The research is published in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of April 1, 2013.

"The perfect storm of weather events and agricultural practices that occurred in 2011 is unfortunately consistent with ongoing trends, which means that more huge algal blooms can be expected in the future unless a scientifically guided management plan is implemented for the region," remarked Michalak.

Fresh water algal blooms can result when excessive amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen are added to the water, typically as runoff from fertilized agriculture. These excess nutrients encourage unusual growth of algae and aquatic plants....

A toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie in 2011

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