HAB Forecasts


Our HAB forecasts alert coastal managers to blooms before they cause serious damage. Short-term (once or twice weekly) forecasts identify which blooms are potentially harmful, where they are, how big they are, and where they're likely 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, 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, similar to weather forecasts, regional HAB forecasts are issued on a regular basis during the seasons when HABs occur. NCCOS is funding research in support of pilot regional HAB forecasts in the Gulf of Maine (Alexandrium), the Pacific Northwest (Pseudo-nitzscha) including Puget Sound (Alexandrium), and Southern California (Pseudo-nitzschia).

**2018 Lake Erie Rolling Seasonal Forecasts to Start in Early May**

Lake Erie has been plagued by a steady increase of HABs over the past decade. These blooms consist of cyanobacteria or blue-green algae, which are capable of producing toxins that pose a risk to human and animal health, foul coastlines, and impact communities and businesses that depend on the lake.

NOAA researchers, with their partners at Heidelberg Universityand NOAA’s Ohio Regional Field Center, will begin producing rolling seasonal forecast for the 2018 bloom season in Lake Erie. The forecasts take weather conditions from March through July. The forecast will be updated every week as more data and newer model simulations become available.

**2018 Lake Erie Final Seasonal Forecast Event Scheduled for July 12**

Following up on the rolling forecast, NOAA researchers, and various academic partners will hold an event at The Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory on July 12, 2018 to release and discuss the final seasonal forecast. This will be the seventh seasonal forecast released. The event will also cover topics concerning the HABs, including the role of phosphorus, and the potential risks. The event will be made available for live streaming, through Ohio Sea Grant.

Lake Erie HAB Bulletin

NOAA has issued bulletins for HABs in Lake Erie starting as a weekly experimental product in 2009. The bulletin is now issued twice weekly. Lake Erie HAB Forecast information is available here.