2012 drought made for largest Lake Erie dead zone in decades

By on January 28, 2015
Lakes and Reservoirs news

Lake Erie has been the site of several algae blooms and major hypoxic zones for years, but new research shows that a massive drought in 2012 led to the lake’s largest dead zone in decades, according to a Carnegie Institution press release.

Based on data collected over 28 years, the study found that the 2012 drought dried up nearby tributaries, reducing the inflow of water into lake. This inflow appears to be the most decisive factor in the formation of dead zones in Lake Erie.

In 2011, the lake faced a record-setting algal bloom that has been attributed to spring storms, among other causes. Algae also contribute to hypoxia in lakes after they die, when chemical processes consume oxygen during decomposition.

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