Perfect Storm Brewing for Toxic Algal Blooms With Arrival of El Niño

Shifting weather patterns raise concerns about risks posed by harmful algae

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES, July 14, 2023/ -- El Niño, a climate phenomenon that produces above-average sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, is shifting global weather patterns and increasing the threat of harmful algal blooms.

“El Niño is producing above average temperatures in certain regions, which can fuel the spread of harmful algae,” said Eyal Harel, CEO, BlueGreen Water Technologies (BlueGreen). “Other areas will experience increased rainfall, washing nutrients and pollutants into water bodies and creating a perfect storm of conditions for outbreaks of toxic algae.”

El Niño occurs when the waters of the Pacific Ocean warm up and trade winds weaken, bringing hotter, drier weather to the Pacific Northwest and northern Great Plains, and cooler, rainier weather to the southern U.S.

“We anticipate more severe weather and extreme heat events during El Niño,” said Dr. Jessica Frost, Scientific Director, BlueGreen. “Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, thrive in warmer weather and can multiply rapidly when excess nutrients and pollutants are present. These eruptions produce dangerous toxins that can sicken people and pets and contaminate seafood and drinking water supplies.”

Forecasters expect El Niño to persist through summer and into fall, which coincides with peak toxic algae season in many parts of the U.S.

Harmful algal blooms arrived earlier than usual in many parts of the U.S. this year, and water scientists are urging parents, swimmers, and pet owners to check for health advisories before heading to their favorite swimming hole, and to look for signs of toxic algae once there.

BlueGreen remediates harmful algal blooms using a floating algaecide to target the toxic species and spark a biological signal known as “programmed cell death” within the colony. The toxic cells die and sink to the sediment, allowing an array of biodiverse species and nontoxic algae to take over the ecological niche.

To protect your family and pets from harmful algal blooms this summer:

• Know before you go. Check for advisories before you head to the lake and avoid contact with the water when warnings are posted.
• Stay out if the water is discolored, smells bad, or has foam or scum on the surface.
• Examine the shoreline for evidence of dried algal blooms. Dead blooms may still contain toxins.
• Do not fish, boat, or play water sports when harmful algae are present.
• Immediately rinse exposed skin with clear water.
• Keep pets out of the water.
• Wear gloves and rinse animals immediately after contact with infected water.
• Do not wash dishes or camping gear in water bodies.
• Wash hands thoroughly before preparing food.
• When in doubt, stay out!

To spot harmful algal blooms:

• Water color appears bright green, blue-green, or red.
• Waterbody has slimy plants, foam, scum, or mats floating on the surface.
• Smells musty, fishy, or like rotten eggs, septic, or gasoline.

About BlueGreen Water Technologies:

BlueGreen Water Technologies is leading the charge in helping preserve and promote life on Earth. We are restoring, safeguarding, and optimizing the health, safety, accessibility, and biodiversity of waterbodies worldwide – including their wildlife, aquatic life, ecosystems, and economies – by pioneering and applying proven scientific ingenuity and deep tech solutions. BlueGreen is the first and only company in the world to develop, obtain regulatory approval for, and commercialize a technology suite that reverses the effects of climate change in water bodies and drastically reduces greenhouse gas levels. The multidisciplinary team of BlueGreen experts is exposing the secrets of lakes and oceans – detecting, analyzing, preventing and remediating some of the most complex and dynamic problems that plague the world’s water systems.

Sally Kidd
Antenna Group