Colorful changes in Lake Erie • Earth.com

Last update: June 15th, 2021 at 4:00 pm

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Long Point region of Lake Erie, where chemical changes have colored the water green and chalky blue.

According to NASA, the water color has most likely been altered by a seiche – a wave that piles up water along the shore and stirs up limestone sediments.

“That’s a very captivating image. It is common to see sediment resuspension along the north shore of the central basin and Long Point,” said NOAA scientist Mark Rowe. “The shoreline from Rondeau to Long Point is composed of easily erodible material, and is a major source of suspended sediment to the lake.”

Algae blooms in the Great Lakes tend to be most common in the far western end of Lake Erie. Earlier this month, NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science issued a seasonal forecast that predicts less intense algae blooms in 2021. 

“We expect this year’s Lake Erie bloom to be smaller than 2017 and 2019 blooms,” stated NOAA. “March and April rains and associated discharge and phosphorus loads for the Maumee River have been lower than average.” 

“Models currently indicate a likely severity of less than 4.5. Blooms with a severity index above 5 generally pose greater risk to drinking water and recreation in Lake Erie.”

The image was captured on May 18, 2021 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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