Visible “red tide” along the coast of La Jolla, San Diego County,
Image credit: Kai Schumann
What are Harmful Algal Blooms?
Harmful algal blooms (HABs), sometimes known as "red tide", occur when certain kinds of algae grow very quickly, forming patches, or "blooms", in the water. These blooms can emit powerful toxins which endanger human and animal health. Reported in every coastal state, HABs have caused an estimated $1 billion in losses over the last several decades to coastal economies that rely on recreation, tourism, and seafood harvesting. Blooms can lead to odors that require more costly treatment for public water supplies. NCCOS conducts and funds research that helps communities protect the public and combat blooms in cost-effective ways, and we are breaking new ground in the science of stopping blooms before they occur.
Click on a region to see available Harmful Algal Bloom monitoring products.
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The Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring System
NCCOS developed the Algal Bloom Monitoring System to routinely deliver near real-time products for use in locating, monitoring and quantifying algal blooms in coastal and lake regions of the US. This application delivers a suite of bloom detection products in the form of geographic based images. At this time products are available for selected regions. New products are being evaluated, and new regions are being considered; as they are proven useful, they will be made available through this system.
For information contact Richard.Stumpf@noaa.gov
Gulf of Maine Alexandrium catenella Predictive Models
Annual Alexandrium catenella blooms in the Gulf of Maine produce potent neurotoxins that accumulate in shellfish and cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) in human consumers. The following models have been developed to better predict and monitor these blooms and shellfish toxicity with the goal to minimize impacts to public health and coastal economies.
The experimental Gulf of Maine harmful algal bloom (the 'red tide') model provides real-time prediction of toxic Alexandrium catenella cells. Models include an animation showing surface wind fields and real-time bloom conditions.
Weekly updated, real-time dashboard for the Alexandrium catenella. When available, the dashboard contains forecast of wind,
modeled cell concentration, estimated cell concentration estimated from real-time ESPs, and observed shellfish toxicity.
Lake Erie HAB Forecasts
NOAA will be releasing early season projections for the 2017 HABs season in Western Lake Erie.
Lake Erie has been plagued by a steady increase of Harmful Algal Blooms 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 University, are initiating early season projections of the seasonal harmful algal bloom in western Lake Erie. These bulletins will be updated weekly until the final seasonal forecast is issued in July. In July, the bulletins will change to twice weekly status and short-term forecasts on bloom location. Sign up here to receive weekly email bulletins.