Record algae bloom in Lake Erie linked with global warming

This NASA Landsat-5 image shows the record-breaking algal bloom in Lake Eerie in October of 2011. The green scum is mostly microcystis, a toxin to mammals.

This NASA Landsat-5 image shows the record-breaking algal bloom in Lake Eerie in October of 2011. The green scum is mostly microcystis, a toxin to mammals.

2011 event was three times larger than any previously recorded bloom

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A record-breaking 2011 algae bloom — three time larger than any on record — in Lake Erie is a warning sign, as global warming is expected to generate more intense rainstorms that flush fertilizers from surrounding fields into the water.

The Lake Erie bloom was triggered by long-term agricultural practices coupled with extreme precipitation, followed by weak lake circulation and warm temperatures, the researchers said, concluding that the lake will continue to experience extreme blooms unless agricultural practices change.

While the changing climate is a key factor, some of the impacts could be mitigated with best management practices, a group of researchers concluded in a new study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Continue reading

Environment: Invasive weeds to thrive with global warming

Yellow starthistle. PHOTO COURTESY US AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE.

Yellow starthistle grows to six times its normal size with levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide expected in the next few decades

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Yellow starthistle, a noxious week that’s already gained a foothold in Summit County, could become even more of a problem with warming global temperatures and more carbon dioxide and nitrogen in the atmosphere.

The invasive plant from Eurasia causes millions of dollars worth of damage to pastures in western states each year, and recent research from Purdue University shows that the prickly invader grew to six times its normal size with simulated global warming changes, while other grassland species remained relatively unchanged.

“Our results suggest that yellow starthistle will be a very happy camper in the coming decades,” said Jeff Dukes, a Purdue associate professor of forestry and natural resources and the study’s lead author. Continue reading

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