The 2015 harmful algal bloom (HAB) in Lake Erie was the most severe in a century, affecting drinking water treatment and recreation on Lake Erie. For the eighth year, NOAA provided Ohio EPA, Ohio Department of Health, water treatment managers, and Ohio Sea Grant information on the extent and potential trajectory of the bloom, allowing managers to determine whether to take preventive actions.
To prepare for the 2016 bloom season, the NOAA forecast research and development team recently met with key forecast users to identify improvements to the forecast and its dissemination. The group agreed to modify the 2016 bulletin to improve its accessibility and provide additional information on wind and bloom severity on the open lake. Research on toxicity onset, water column mixing, and interpreting hyperspectral imagery will continue. The group also identified several opportunities to improve internal and external communications, including a series of webinars, press releases, and talking points.
NOAA plans totransition the experimental Lake Erie HAB forecast and bulletin to operations by 2017, demonstrating NOAA's long-term support to provide the forecast. In 2016, the forecast will be run in parallel operations by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), where it was developed, and the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS), where it will become operational. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab will continue field observations and model development, and the National Weather Service is again providing data and analysis to support HAB forecasting.
For more information, contact Greg.Piniak@noaa.gov