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Using satellite data, our scientists developed a sophisticated computer model to predict how conditions such as winds, temperature, and currents will influence whether the algae bloom will grow or shrink as well as where it will drift.

Our HAB forecasts alert coastal managers to blooms before they cause serious damage. Short-term (once or twice weekly) forecasts identify which blooms are harmful, where they are, how big they are, and where they're headed. Longer-term, seasonal forecasts predict the severity of HABs for the bloom season in a particular region.

Early warning provides health officials, environmental managers and water treatment facility operators information to focus their testing to guide beach and shellfish bed closures or water treatment in a more appropriate timeframe. They also allow the seafood and tourism industries to minimize impacts.

HAB forecasts are based on understanding the causes of HABs and how they respond to changing weather and ocean conditions. The other critical component of a HAB forecast is the ability to routinely and remotely detect HABs, their toxins, and environmental conditions that foster blooms and enhance their toxicity.

NOAA conducts and funds the development of HAB forecasts in collaboration with academic and state and local manager partners. Once pilot forecasts are developed and validated, the forecasting ability is transitioned to operations, often as part of the NOAA HAB Operational Forecasting System (HABOFS). Then, just like weather forecasts, regional HAB forecasts are issued on a regular basis during the seasons when HABs occur.