Cody Nelson: Shorter Winters and Algal Populations


A team led by University of Minnesota-Duluth researchers, that was the point: They want to know how shortening winters — and less ice cover on lakes — may increase the presence of harmful algae blooms and impact the fishery. Aside from people who ice fish, the general assumption is that not much happens in lakes during winter, said Andy Bramburger, a research associate from the U’s Duluth campus.

The biggest effect of climate change on lakes isn’t necessarily how warm it gets, but how cold it doesn’t get. These warmer winters are shorter, so more sunlight can reach the water earlier, jumpstarting algae production and affecting the lake’s biology.