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Blue green algae blooms menace coastlines of northern Europe

Blue green algae blooms menace coastlines of northern Europe Photo: NASA.

August 05, 2018 04:48 PM

Beach closures of lakes in western New York due to blue green algae blooms have become a familiar occurrence for the past few years, but recent satellite imagery of northern Europe has revealed an alarming number of the saltwater variant of blue algae blooms.

According to Live Science (livescience.com), swirls of blue green algae floating in the Baltic Sea have measured up to 12 miles in diameter. Though striking to the eye, the large number of blooms may indicate a decline in the environmental health of the region.

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Blue green algae feeds furiously on dissolved nutrients and quickly deplete water of the oxygen needed for other aquatic life. In fact, blue green algae has created dead zones in coastal waters in which fish and other marine life cannot survive.

The Gulf of Finland has experienced the highest number of blue green algae blooms in over a decade.

Reasons for this increase are prolonged, high summer temperatures and elevated levels of phosphorous from  drainage run-off and decomposing organisms.

Credits

Tim Hansen

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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