Poisonus Algae Spreads Into 20 States

Global warming. Climate change.  probably heard both of these phrases. LiveScience, a science news website run by Purch, describes global warming as “a gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and its oceans […] a change that is believed to be permanently changing the Earth’s climate.”

Over the past few decades, the United States has become more focused on pollution cutbacks and renewable energy sources. The debate surrounding global warming has become increasingly divisive, and many Americans still consider the entire concept to be a hoax. However, there is evidence of global warming happening all around us.

Poisonous algae outbreaks have occurred in over twenty states this summer. These outbreaks have been blamed on global warming, since the increasingly warmer water temperatures are perfect for algae growth. The blue-green algae in question, also known as cyanobacteria, has been showing up in lakes all over the United States.

This algae contains microcystin, a toxin that can seriously affect the central nervous system. Several beaches in Florida and California have been forced to close down after water contaminated with the blue-green algae was released into the ocean. The toxic algae poses a threat to fragile coastal ecosystems across the country, as well as national tourist and fishing industries. Experts are unsure as what the best course of action should be. Killing the blue-green algae has the potential to release even more toxins into the water, but leaving the algae to disappear naturally could take several months.

– Brianna Craver

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