Fact-checking the Forecast: July’s harmful algal blooms forecast turns out to have been highly accurate | Ohio Sea Grant Twine Line
Back in July, scientists from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) issued the first-ever seasonal harmful algal bloom (HAB) forecast for western Lake Erie at a press event at Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory. Now, with the 2012 HABs season over, Dr. Jeff Reutter reflects on the successful prediction and looks ahead to next year.
“I would say that we were right on with what we tried to do,” Reutter, Ohio Sea Grant & Stone Lab’s Director, says. “The rationale behind the press conference was to let people know that, based on phosphorus loading and concentrations in the lake, things were looking really good for the summer.”
The forecast predicted a mild bloom for the western basin, similar to conditions last seen in 2007 and about one-tenth the size of the 2011 bloom. While it was somewhat larger than predicted, the bloom was still 70% smaller than last year. “It was a welcome bit of relief, and the key point is the model was accurate,” Reutter says.