Thought to be gone for a long time, regular algal blooms and/or Dead Zones have been increasing over the recent years. These blooms are the cause of closed beaches and can be harmful to wildlife.
There are some natural "Dead Zones" that occur through the biological break down of matter, waste, etc. and the absorption of oxygen this naturally occurring process takes. But the increase of these algal blooms is cause for concern as they were regularly seen during the Lake Erie's dead years.
If successful NASA & NOAA is hoping to be able to predict these blooms using some really cool technical equipment flown 10,000 feet below, while boats take reading at the waters surface.
From the PD --
The NASA and NOAA teams will crunch the data from sky and water in coming months, creating computer models that could project when and where the harmful algae might appear in future Septembers. In technical terms, it's algorithms vs. algal blooms.
In time, it could mean a new Lake Erie early warning system -- giving municipal water departments and public beaches ample time to prepare for and treat the arrival of the harmful blue-green blooms late each summer.
"That would be a public service that would come out of the science," said NOAA scientist George Leskevich. More....