According to a new multi-investigator study, with contributions from researchers funded by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science's Ecological Forecasting Program in Lake Erie, the record-breaking 2011 Lake Erie cyanobacteria bloom was likely caused by a combination of changing farming practices and weather conditions; conditions predicted to continue under a changing climate.
The study led by the National Science Foundation noted farming practices such as tillage and fertilizer, more intense weather and increased runoff events have injected more phosphorus into Lake Erie all as potential causes. Additionally, after the bloom began to form, an extended period of weak circulation and warm weather further promoted its growth. The study authors predict that all of these factors are likely to continue to occur in the future, increasing the chances of these toxic blooms in the region.
For more information, contact Elizabeth.Turner@noaa.gov.