Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring System: Southwest Florida

Algal Blooms from Satellite for Tampa Bay

A bloom was not detectable on April 29 during continued calmer winds (6-10 mph). On April 26 (also during calmer winds), a bloom of moderate concentration appeared from the Manatee shore into the center of lower Tampa Bay. Slightly elevated chlorophyll concentrations in the central channel may have reached the Skyway Bridge on April 26. Concentrations were much lower than seen nearshore in early April (perhaps 10 ug/L chlorophyll now, vs up to 50 ug/L previously), but area was larger. On April 22, a slight bloom just south of MacDill was unlikely to be associated with Piney Point, upper reaches of Tampa Bay get occasional algal blooms.) On April 18, a bloom was not visible during relatively strong winds of about 16 mph, and with clouds directly over Port Manatee. Strong winds on April 10-11 also corresponded to a less visible bloom. No usable imagery was collected on April 16-17. On April 15 the bloom in the area of the Piney Point discharge reached a size to 22 square km (9 square miles), nearly the same size as observed on April 9, when the bloom reached its largest size of about 25 square kilometers (10 square miles). Discharges stopped on April 9. Following strong winds from the south on April 10-11 (over 20 mph on April 10, and up to 15 mph on April 11), the bloom decreased substantially and was not visible in satellite imagery on April 12. The state of Florida is regularly sampling the bloom and has not found Karenia brevis.

NCCOS collects and analyzes satellite data for harmful algal blooms (HABs) every day. We routinely monitor southwest Florida for all potentially harmful blooms. This information, including the image copied below, is posted on our HAB monitoring page and is being used to monitor HABs in association with the Piney Point wastewater release by Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and Tampa Bay Estuary Program. We will continue to track the bloom’s movement until it has been confirmed to have dissipated. Additional updates and background information on the Piney Point wastewater discharge can be found at https://protectingfloridatogether.gov/PineyPointUpdate.

Images last updated: 05/12/2021

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Image credit: The images were derived from Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite data from the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and were processed by NOAA, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.

NOTE: Image quality will vary with clouds and satellite position (OLCI satellite background information). See more information about our bloom monitoring imagery.