Jan 9, 2012

Cause and "delayed" effect?

What's the source of red tide?

Some say it's naturally occurring.

Could our most recent red tide outbreak
be a result of last May's flood flows on the Mississippi?

Then there is the side that blames it on Lake Okeechobee. But this year releases from the Lake into the Caloosahatchee River have been negligible to none.

Does that mean it's off the hook?

Keep in mind that other Gulf Coast water ways discharge nutrients into the coast, thus it's probably wrong minded to single out one.

But if we had to pick just one, we might as well pick the biggest.

The Mississippi's biggest flow year
in recent times was 1993

The Mississippi River has recently been finger printed as playing a role in red tide events throughout the gulf coast by the vicissitudes of its giant Dead Zone, i.e., a nutrient-laden hypoxic zone, getting swirled into Loop Current gyres and pushed around by prevailing winds and other factors.

Could that mean our most recent outbreak had its start in the form of heavy rains in Ohio River Valley in April of last year?


Dr. Tom said...


Dr. JoAnn Burkholder, an expert on red tides, just spoke at the EVCO Conference Saturday morning. She showed convincing data to show that red tides are natural but greatly exacerbated by high nutrient water releases. Of course the Mighty Mississippi must be a major culprit. but locally discharges from Florida waters along the Gulf Coast are more important. Dr. Brain laPointe (Harbor Branch)has documented several such cases in detail.

Take care, Dr. Tom

Unknown said...

Thanks Tom. That's a good point. Besides the Caloosahatchee there are also several streams, rivers and canals in Florida that discharge into the gulf. To what degree the storm water discharge from drenching October rains factored in, I'm not sure. Probably a combination.