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.

Forecast Products

The cyanobacteria bloom in western Lake Erie has an approximate area of 120 square miles, which is a decrease in area since Sep 14. Clouds obscured recent satellite imagery. As of Sep 19, 2023, the cyanobacteria bloom extends from Stony Point, MI to about Port Clinton, OH. The western basin bloom is a mix of Microcystis and Dolichospermum. Sandusky Bay has a local bloom of mixed cyanobacteria. No recent toxin data currently available. --A. Meredith 09/21/2023.
The past few days of imagery can be seen at the HAB monitoring site. The Lake Erie Forecast is operated by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. Contact hab@noaa.gov for technical Questions. Last Updated: 2023-09-21 10 AM EST

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

(from modelling)

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.

HAB Alerts

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.

2023 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.

2023 Lake Erie Seasonal Forecast Event

The official seasonal forecast for Lake Erie was announced on June 29, 2023 during a live webinar hosted in collaboration with Ohio Sea Grant. Read the press release here

Additional Resources

For other data on Lake Erie HABs, visit one of these websites:

For safety information on these blooms, visit the Ohio EPA website.