The Bloom is Off
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s analysis of the 2015 algal bloom in western Lake Erie (Ohio) showed that it was the most severe yet, the agency announced Tuesday.
The severity index, which captures the amount of biomass in the 300-sq-mile bloom, was rated 10.5 for 2015, compared with 10 for the 2011 bloom.
A piece of good news was that the bloom—the largest spread since measurements began in 2002—moved to the center of the central basin, instead of along the shore, lowering the impact along both central basin coasts.
2015's bloom was unusual because it started early, in mid-July, and achieved maximum biomass in mid-August. NOAA had forecast a massive bloom, but still underestimated its size.
It was just last summer that Toledo, Ohio, issued a do-not-drink order when microcystin toxin, a product of algal blooms, was found in tap water. It is hoped this is not a new summer trend in the Great Lakes area, but until we take action to prevent the blooms from occurring, or occurring in such quantities, residents of the area might have to get used to the words, "Don't drink the water."