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Monday, May 7, 2018

The First 2018 Lake Erie Algal Bloom Forecast is Here, and It's Not Pretty

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2018 at 4:00 PM

PHOTO BY ERIC SANDY
  • Photo by Eric Sandy
A nasty green algae bloom is certain to hit the shallowest of the Great Lakes once more this summer, scientists confirm. But the depth of the problem is uncertain.

Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Center for Water Quality Research released its first forecast for the year, indicating that they don't know a whole hell of a lot yet. 



"Because the forecast uses modeled discharge for two months, there is a large uncertainty in bloom severity," forecasters admitted in a release.

So far, according to the researchers, heavy precipitation in April have led to farm runoff leaving high phosphorus levels in the Maumee River, which runs directly into Lake Erie.

"The phosphorus load to date is sufficient for some bloom to occur, however, the uncertainty is quite large," forecasters said.

As major rain events are not predicted for the upcoming weeks, it's hard to conclude if this year's algal bloom will be larger than last summer's, the third worst on record.

A final seasonal forecast taking place in July should offer a far more accurate indication of what could lie beneath Lake Erie's surface this summer.




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