True color image from May 23 taken by MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite. Calm winds over the weekend have allowed the sediment in the western basin and along the Ohio coast to settle.
The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and Heidelberg University’s National Center for Water Quality Research have issued a second early season prediction regarding harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.
The severity of the western Lake Erie cyanobacteria harmful algal bloom (HAB) depends on the load of bioavailable phosphorus, particularly from the Maumee River during the loading season (March 1-July 31). This product provides an estimate of the bloom severity based on a combination of measurements to date and model predictions into July. The seasonal forecast will be made in early July with more data and a comprehensive set of models.
This spring, the Maumee has had an average river load. Precipitation over the next six weeks is expected to continue to be close to normal, which is much less than the record seen in June 2015. As a result, we currently project the bloom to be much milder than last year.
Total bioavailable phosphorus (TBP) is the sum of dissolved phosphorus (which is 100% available for HAB development), and the portion of particulate phosphorus that is available for HAB development. The TBP loads are projected to June 29 using river forecasts from the National Weather Service Ohio River Forecast Center, and to the end of the loading season using past data. The projection will be updated weekly with new data and weather models through June.