In the Gulf of Mexico, some harmful algal blooms (HABs) are caused by the microscopic algae species Karenia brevis, commonly called red tide. These blooms can produce toxic chemicals that affect both marine organisms and humans, creating the potential to kill marine life. In humans, red tide can lead to respiratory illness and eye irritation. Toxins can also accumulate in shellfish tissue and often lead to shellfish bed closures. NOAA issues HAB forecasts to support the decisions of coastal resource managers, public health officials, and research scientists. Forecasts also help beachgoers identify where and when coastal areas may be temporarily affected by a bloom. Visit our harmful algal bloom portal for regional information, links, and resources.
NOAA’s newly enhanced HAB forecasts are now available to the public in real time. The forecasts are higher resolution, providing hourly observations at the individual beach level. Analysis of "red tide" algal bloom locations and reported impacts are now automated, and reports include forecasts of potential development, intensification, transport, and impacts of algal blooms. The interactive dashboard from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science displays the following products:
For the state of Florida, the new website includes additional partner resources. The Beach Conditions Reporting System at Mote Marine Lab provides up to twice daily reports of various conditions at the beach, including respiratory irritation, visible dead fish, surf conditions, and more. State of Florida Observations show the concentration of K. brevis cells provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission monitoring program, from water samples over the last 8 days. It gives current red tide status and links to additional maps and graphics.
NOAA will continue to provide its legacy HAB forecasts in an operational capacity until August 2, 2021. In addition to visiting the new website, you can subscribe to Gulf of Mexico forecasts to receive alerts and updates. Email notifications will be sent to subscribers when a bloom forms, weekly during a bloom, and when bloom conditions change. For a detailed explanation of features, view the Gulf of Mexico HAB Forecast Guide.