As the Earth’s climate warms, hurricanes are becoming more powerful and wildfires more fierce. Storms are more intense, triggering bigger, more frequent floods.
But a scientist at UW-Madison has found one phenomenon that’s not getting worse.
There has not been a universal increase in harmful algae blooms like those that often force closures of Madison’s beaches, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
In fact, the problem is actually getting better on some lakes.
“That really surprised us,” said Grace Wilkinson, an assistant professor of limnology and lead author of the study. “There aren’t a lot of good news stories. Lots of things are not going well. We had assumed this was also going to be the case for algae blooms.”
Modern farming practices have led to a phenomenon known as eutrophication: When too much fertilizer washes off the land into lakes and rivers, it can trigger excessive algae growth.