Art by Matteo Farinella, written by Jeremy Deaton
Algal blooms are killing wildlife and making people sick. Here's how we aided their reign of terror.
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In a troubling sign for the future of the Italian Alps, the snow and ice in a glacier is turning pink due to the growth of snow-melting algae, according to scientists studying the pink ice phenomenon, as CNN reported.
By Josh Bonifield
The Australian brewery Young Henrys is working to fight climate change with an unusual ingredient—algae.
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggest that much of the ocean surface will be bluer and greener due to the effect of rising global temperatures on phytoplankton, or microscopic marine algae that contain chlorophyll and need sunlight to live and grow.
By Karen Perry Stillerman
What's for breakfast? Maybe it's a bagel and cream cheese, or toast and coffee, or eggs (or not). For millions of Americans, though, cereal is a breakfast mainstay. There's a mind-boggling array of ready-to-eat cereal brands on offer, and everyone has their favorites.
The current outbreak, which began in October 2017 off southwest Florida, has been tied to a record 589 sea turtle deaths and 213 manatee deaths, the Herald-Tribune reported, citing figures from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Cutting out coal-burning and other sources of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from heavy industry, electricity production and traffic will reduce the size of the world's dead zones along coasts where all fish life is vanishing because of a lack of oxygen.
Investigation needed<p>The good news in their research was that cutting this burning would considerably reduce the size of the dead zones.</p><p>Yu Yan Yau said: "I hope our study brings more attention to the potential benefit of reducing fossil fuel burning on human and ecosystem health, but also on local economic activities like fisheries, which are severely affected by hypoxia."</p><p>Her supervisor, <a href="https://www.earthsciences.hku.hk/people/academic-staff/dr-thibodeau-benoit" target="_blank">Dr Benoit Thibodeau</a>, added: "Low levels of oxygen are observed in many coastal seas around the world and it is important to find better ways to tackle this problem.</p><p>"While we understand that sewage and nutrient input from the Pearl River drive most of the hypoxia in the Greater Bay Area, we observe low levels of oxygen in regions that are not directly under the influence of these sources. Thus it is important to investigate the impact of atmospheric deposition more locally."</p><p>These findings will be important to many countries that are trying to rescue their coastal fisheries from dead zones. There are about 400 of these globally, including <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/3/100305-baltic-sea-algae-dead-zones-water/" target="_blank">parts of Europe's Baltic Sea</a>.</p>
Industrial impact<p>The largest is in the Arabian Sea, covering about 63,000 square miles, and the second largest a vast area in the Gulf of Mexico next to the Mississippi Delta, where a dead zone devoid of marine life develops every summer.</p><p>Every year winter rains wash fertilizer from fields in the US corn belt into the river. Combined with sewage overflows, this creates a huge quantity of nutrients that sweep down the river into the sea.</p><p>Depending on the size of the winter floods, scientists try to predict the extent of the resultant dead zone. However, the banks of the lower river are also crowded with heavy industrial sites, many burning large quantities of fossil fuels and creating large amounts of NOx, something that previously has not been taken into account.</p><p>If the Hong Kong research is correct, then cutting the pollution from these industries will also reduce the size of the Mississippi's dead zone.</p>
- Oceans Losing Oxygen at Breathtaking Speeds - EcoWatch ›
- Devil in the Deep Blue Sea: How Many Dead Zones Are Out There ... ›
By Karl Havens
Editor's note: Two large-scale algae outbreaks in Florida are killing fish and threatening public health. Along the southwest coast, one of the longest-lasting red tide outbreaks in the state's history is affecting more than 100 miles of beaches. Meanwhile, discharges of polluted fresh water from Lake Okeechobee and polluted local runoff water from the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee watersheds have caused blooms of blue-green algae in downstream estuaries on both coasts. Karl Havens, a professor at the University of Florida and director of the Florida Sea Grant Program, explains what's driving this two-pronged disaster.
- Across U.S., Toxic Algal Blooms Threaten Lakes and Other Waterways ›
- Nearly 300 Sea Turtles Dead as Red Tide Plagues Southwest Florida ›
By Ketura Persellin
You probably care a lot about how your fruits and vegetables are grown. You may not think as much about where your family's animal protein comes from, but the conditions in which most meat, poultry and even dairy is produced may give you and your kids pause — even those most likely to clamor for yet another burger or hot dog.
- 'The Last Pig' Doesn't Offer Easy Answers on Animal Farming ... ›
- Latest Agriculture Emissions Data Show Rise of Factory Farms ... ›
- Sanders Proposes Major Changes to Food Production System ... ›
By Valerie Vande Panne
In February, the voters of Toledo, Ohio, passed a ballot initiative that gives Lake Erie and those who rely on the lake's ecosystem a bill of rights. The idea is to protect and preserve the ecosystem so that the life that depends on it — humans included — can have access to safe, fresh drinking water.
The U.S. government will release a major climate report on Friday afternoon that could be very inconvenient for President Trump, who seems as clueless as ever about the global phenomenon and continues to push coal and other planet-warming fossil fuels.
But environmentalists, climate experts and others have pointed out that the critical warning from 13 federal agencies will be softened by the country's post-Thanksgiving haze and Black Friday shopping rush.
The same red tide choking Florida's Gulf coast has spread to waters off Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, forcing the closure of many popular beaches on Thursday and leaving hundreds of dead fish in its wake, according to local reports.
This is the first time in decades the toxic algae has affected both of Florida's coasts at the same time, the Associated Press reported.
By Sarah Graddy and Robert Coleman
This summer, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is tracking outbreaks of potentially toxic algae across the U.S. We have been startled to find that these outbreaks are erupting everywhere: from the East Coast to the West Coast, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
- Florida Gov. Scott Issues Emergency Order for Toxic Red Tide ›
- What Is Causing Florida's Algae Crisis? 5 Questions Answered ›