Lake Erie Blooms to Worsen

A Lake Erie algae bloom (i.huffpost.com).

A Lake Erie algae bloom (i.huffpost.com).

     According to research presented at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, the occurrence of severe algal blooms on Lake Erie is expected to double. The new predictions, which come from engineers and ecologists at Ohio State University, are the result of runoff and climate change models (which point towards more algal blooms than runoff models alone).

     The runoff in the study mainly refers to agricultural runoff; nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen, which, after being applied to crops, eventually makes it into local streams, lakes and rivers. And while recent legislation has aimed to reduce runoff, the new model predicts that that may not be enough. 

     "Our assessment of climate in the region reveals less winter snow, more heavy spring rains, and hotter summers," explained postdoctoral researcher Noel Aloysius in his group's presentation. "Those are perfect growing conditions for algae. We can reduce phosphorous by 40 percent, but the algae won't suffer as much as you might hope."

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