Algae Bloom in Freshwater Lakes Across the Globe Have Increased These Days

A new study published this Monday reveals an unpleasant reality. According to which, potentially toxic algae that blooms in the world become more intense in the past 30 years. Climate change is not the only reason that blooms have gotten worse, but the increasing global temperature is making it worse for the lakes to recover from them. For the purpose of their studies researchers from NASA and Stanford University used the data that was collected by Landsat 5 near-Earth satellite. This satellite orbited around the earth and took pictures of its surface for nearly 30 years. Researchers then used a computer algorithm hired from Google Earth Engine to detect algae blooms in the world’s major lakes.

Anna Michalak is a senior researcher at Stanford’s Carnegie Institution. She stated that better statistics are obtained for more recent years with the help of instruments such as MODIS and MERIS. Researchers studied algae trends in nearly 71 large lakes. These lakes are located over 33 countries on 6 continents. The result shows that in almost 68 percent of these lakes the intensity of blooms got worse during peak summertime. While the intensity of these algae blooms decreases in only 8 percent of lakes during the same time period. This same trend was seen for most dangerous types of Algae. These algae, for example, blue-green algae are made of bacteria and is toxic for wildlife, people, and pets.

These findings were published in Nature Monday. And these results provide more evidence that these blooms are really toxic and becoming more widespread these days worldwide. Authors wrote that on the contrary to the hypothesis, increased statistics of toxic blooms are actually a byproduct of growing scientific attention. Although it seems that there is link between climate change and these blooms, the relationship is complicated. However, Michalak and her team didn’t detect any constant association between warming temperatures and intense blooms in the lakes across the globe. Michalak said that algae blooms could be affected by numerous factors and individual lake environments. While these reasons can include temperature, but it can also include rainfall and fertilizer use nearby. However, one thing was common in the findings that only lakes that are peculiarly cool or warmed less were able to withstand gains in water quality.

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