430 Influence of Wind Direction and Speed on Formation of 2014 Lake Erie Harmful Algae Bloom

Monday, 11 January 2016
Patrick L. Lawrence, Univ. of Toledo, Toledo, OH

This poster examines the role that prevailing wind direction and speed played in the formation and location of the harmful algae bloom (HAB) in western Lake Erie in August 2014 that resulted in the release of the waterborne toxic microcystin and three drinking water ban for 500,000 residents in the Toledo Ohio region. As the annual blue-green (Cyanobacteria) algae bloom typically forms in early summer months the movement and placement of the HAB is greatly impacted by the presence and variations in prevailing wind direction and speed and its impact on the movement of the mass and also mixing of the water column. During the 2014 August event the dominant prevailing wind positioned the HAB at the sole drinking water intake for the City of Toledo where weather and wind conditions kept the bloom stable for a length of period increasing exposure and release of the toxin into the drinking water intake and system. The dynamics of changing wind conditions can be a significant factor in the development, placement and movement of the HAB along the southern shore of Lake Erie and have major implications for drinking water intakes and public exposure at local shoreline beaches.
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