Red Tide Data Resources for Florida

Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae — simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater — grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, benthic organisms, marine mammals, and birds (source NOAA).

Currently, there is an unprecedented and persistent HAB, commonly known as red tide, impacting both coasts of Florida.

Red Tide in Florida

The Florida red tide occurs when high concentrations of the toxic dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis, is present. Karenia brevis creates a toxin, called a brevetoxin, that is threatening to human and animal health.  Red tides have been responsible for millions of dollars in economic losses to the commercial and recreational fishing industries as well as recreation and tourism industries.

Red tide toxins that end up in the food web can be transferred to other forms of life, from tiny zooplankton to birds, fish, aquatic mammals and humans. Red tides cause massive fish kills along the Florida coast, weaken or kill marine mammals, and, when the toxins are inhaled, cause respiratory distress in humans and marine mammals.

While red tide occurs naturally, knowing when and where a red tide threat may emerge and how it may evolve along the coast is important. A number of predictive tools and data resources are available or in development to investigate this natural phenomenon.

Red Tide Data Resources

SECOORA is working to pull together all data resources related to the Red Tide in the Florida. If we are missing a resource, please email abbey@secoora.org to get it included!

Current Status


FWC Red Tide Status Update

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reports on the current status of Karenia brevis blooms using tables, static maps, and interactive Google Earth maps. FWC provides a statewide K. brevis map that breaks down coastal areas to highlight when concentrations are not present, very low, low, medium, and high. In addition, they report on respiratory irritation for southwest and northwest Florida.

 

Access the FWC Red Tide Status Webpage

Access the FWC Red Tide Status Map


Modeling, Forecasting and Web Cameras 


West Florida Coastal Ocean Model

 

 

For West Florida, access short-term (4.5 day) HAB trajectory forecast that is provided by the University of South Florida College of Marine Science. The forecast is based on the nowcast/ forecast West Florida Coastal Ocean Model (WFCOM). Results are provided for both the surface and the near bottom waters. The two results differ due to water movement. Water movement is important to show where red tide may be transported. WFCOM provides the connectivity between three distinct ocean and coastal regions: deep ocean, nearshore shelf waters, and estuaries.

 

Access 4.5 Day HAB forecast for West Florida
Tampa Bay Circulation Model

 

 

For the Tampa Bay Coastal region, access the short-term (4.5 day) HAB trajectory forecast that is provided by the University of South Florida College of Marine Science. The forecast is based on the high resolution nowcast/forecast Tampa Bay Circulation Model (TBCOM). Results are provided for both the surface and the near bottom waters. The two results differ due to water movement. Water movement is important to show where red tide may be transported. The TBCOM offers more detail by virtue of higher spatial resolution.

 

Access 4.5 Day HAB forecast for Tampa Bay Florida

NOAA Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast

 

 

NOAA monitors conditions daily and issues twice-weekly forecasts for red tide blooms in the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast of Florida. You can find up-to-date information on where a bloom is located and a 3–4 day forecast for potential respiratory irritation arranged by regions. This information may help you find an unaffected beach if you are visiting the coast.

 

Access the NOAA Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast
Web Cameras

 

 

SECOORA and Surfline support five coastal cameras in the southeastern U.S. that are specifically deployed to address coastal issues. There are 3 cameras in Florida that can be used to view effects of red tide (Bradenton, Miami and St. Augustine). Watch the cameras to see if dead fish is on the beach or monitor if others are enjoying the waters. You can also view archived data to determine if beach attendance has been impacted.

 

Access Web Camera Data

Apps


HABscope

 

 

Access by phone or the computer, HABscope is a new experimental forecast that is indicating the potential respiratory irritation that may occur because red tide. The tool is produced using current wind forecasts generated by NOAA’s National Weather Service that are combined with K. brevis cell counts gathered by Pinellas County Environmental Management.

 

Access the HABscope App
Beach Conditions Report

 

 

Mote Marine Laboratory designed a user-friendly app that provides beach condition reports from select beaches on the southwest coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle. The app will alert you when dead fish are present, whether there is respiratory irritation among beachgoers, provide water color, the wind direction, and what flags are currently flying at the beaches (for lifeguard-monitored beaches). The reports are subjective (no measurements taken, just an estimate) and designed to indicate to the beachgoer which beach may be more preferable to visit at a particular time. It is updated twice daily at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

 

Access the Beach Conditions Report