Experts expect climate change to impact algae blooms, but for better or for worse?



While we’re not dealing with a red tide in Southwest Florida right now, chances are we’ll see it again at some point.

Some experts expect climate change to affect future blooms, but the question is whether it will make it better or worse.

Terry Gibson with the America’s Water Security Project believes Floridians know climate change well. “I don’t think on a per capita basis nationally any population group is more aware that climate change is real and that we’re suffering from it than Floridians.”

We already know about harmful algal blooms like red tides.

A consensus document from the state Harmful Algae / Red Tide Task Force acknowledges climate change can promote blooms through warmer water temperatures, changes in salinity or changes in rainfall.

Professor Mike Parsons Ph.D. with the School of Water at Florida Gulf Coast University, explains “It certainly plays a role in red tides. I don’t know if we can really say it will be better or worse. And that’s the real question. And there are studies underway. ”

When it comes to climate change, scientists will have to consider warming waters, ocean acidification, and what happens to the rest of the environment, Parsons said.

“It’s not just red tide,” he added. “Basically, when the red tide breaks out, it overwhelms everything else there. How will everything else respond to climate change? Would they have an advantage over calmer seas with warmer water with more nutrients than red tides. ”

The Harmful Algae/Red Tide Task Force recommends improving measures to protect public health, communication, management and response in the face of red tide events.

Latest Red Tide Status Reports Available by Phone: Call (866) 300-9399 anytime from anywhere in Florida toll free to listen to audio recordings of red tide conditions statewide. Callers outside of Florida may dial (727) 502-4952. Standard call rates apply.

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