Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasts
Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast
NOAA provides forecasts for seasonal blooms of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in Lake Erie, typically from July to October when warmer water creates favorable bloom conditions. Western Lake Erie has been plagued by an increase of HABs intensity 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. A combination of satellite image (for bloom location and extent), a forecasting and mixing model provide information on the current status of the bloom, forecasted position both at the surface and at depth, and toxicity from field samples. See individual products and our FAQs for more information.
The Microcystis cyanobacteria bloom in western Lake Erie has an approximate area of 40 square miles, which is unchanged from Jul 26. The cyanobacteria is patchy along and near the Ohio coast west of Catawba Island almost to Maumee Bay. Sandusky Bay has some traces of cyanobacteria. This is unrelated to western Lake Erie blooms. We have not detected blooms elsewhere in the lake. The seasonal forecast was issued June 30. Toxins have been detected below the recreational limit. They can be highly concentrated in scums! If you see scum, keep your pets and yourself out of the water. In the satellite imagery or bloom forecast position products, any areas that are orange or red are likely to have scum, especially during calm winds, see Mixing Forecast product. --Stumpf 07/29
The Lake Erie Forecast is operated by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for technical Questions. Last Updated: 2021-07-29 03 PM EDT
Observed Bloom Position
(from most recent satellite image)
Current satellite imagery from the Ocean Land Color Imager (OLCI) and true color imagery showing bloom location and extent.
Forecasted Bloom Position
Forecasted extent and position of the bloom for a minimum of 96 hours, based on a combination of a hydrodynamic modeled currents and satellite imagery for initial bloom location.
Vertical Mixing Forecast
Forecast of the potential for mixing over the next at least 96 hours, to determine the likelihood that the bloom is at the surface or subsurface.
HABs in Lake Erie pose a risk to human and animal health, foul coastlines, and negatively impact communities and businesses. Sign up to receive Lake Erie HAB updates via email.
2021 Western Lake Erie Projections
The early season projection estimates bloom severity based on Maumee River discharge and modeled phosphorus loads. It is issued weekly from May until the seasonal forecast is announced. The final seasonal assessment will be completed by November 2021.
- 2021 Western Lake Erie Seasonal Projections
- View Early Season Projection and Seasonal Assessment Archives
2021 Lake Erie Seasonal Forecast Event
- Archived Lake Erie Forecasts
- More information about our bloom monitoring imagery
- FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions about cyanobacteria and the forecasts NOAA issues
- Contributors and Data Providers
- Lake Erie HAB Forecast Guide - User guide to help navigate the forecast products
For other data on Lake Erie HABs, visit one of these websites:
- NOAA GLERL - HAB Program
- NOAA GLERL - Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System
- NOAA National Weather Service, Cleveland
- Ohio EPA
- Ohio State University
- Heidelberg University, National Center for Water Quality Research
For safety information on these blooms, visit the Ohio EPA website.