The Two Degree Difference: Cyanobacteria blooms and climate change

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“I think with climate change we could see increases in Cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Champlain” said Kristine Stepenuck, a professor at University of Vermont.

Cyanobacteria, also knows as blue-green algae are naturally found in fresh water across the united states. Cyanobacteria can multiply quickly and form dense populations knows as blooms, especially during warm days when water temperatures climb.

“With the suns energy available, with the phosphorus in the lake those things make the perfect conditions for these cyanobacteria blooms to form” said Stepenuck.

Swimming in or swallowing water with cyanobacteria present can also cause heath issues. These can include skin rashes, sore throats, stomach problems or more serious health problems.

But how is climate change making these conditions worse you might ask? Stepenuck states that “…cyanobacteria blooms love the warm weather and the predictions for climate change are an increase in temperatures over time so that is conducive to allowing them to grow and the other thing we have predicated for this area is an increase in heavy storm events or big rainstorms with lots of runoff, so that can bring the extra nutrients into the lake.”

There are a few ways to help fix and reduce this problem however. One of which is preventing runoff from your own property. This can be done by simply minimizing storm water that leaves your property by installing a rain barrel or rain garden.

It is also recommended if you do see this blue-green algae at your local beach or body of water, to report it. You can find that information here.

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