Rick Scott’s Environmental and Climate Change Policies May Have Created a Year-Round Ride Tide

People protesting against Rick Scott. A protester is holding a sign saying Red Tide Rick fix it right now

From Giuseppe Sabella, Bradenton Herald, 1/25/2019:

“If somebody was at war with the state of Florida and they wanted a weapon to come after us, it’s clear that red tide would be perfect, because red tide impacts everything,” he said.

Florida’s red tide originates from a microscopic organism, Karenia brevis, which occurs naturally in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the only organism of its kind, mainly because it leads to dead fish, shellfish poisoning and human respiratory irritation, according to Friday’s presentation.

“There is no other organism in the world that does all three,” Landau said. “When you hear about red tide in Boston or someplace else, this is not it. It’s different — this is our red tide.”

… So how does climate change affect red tide once it arrives at Manatee’s shoreline? Red tide often appears in late summer and then fades by early winter, but the cycle is changing.

“You’d have a bloom, it goes away, people forget about it — that’s it,” Landau said. “In my opinion, we’re at a point where we have to do something. If we don’t, some of these things are going to be long term.”

Cold water usually wards off the algae before tourists arrive, he said, but warmer temperatures made a suitable home for red tide. As a result, red tide bloomed in the fall of 2017 and then extended through 2018 and into this year.

“Red tide is impacted by climate change, not because the water is getting warmer, but because it isn’t getting cold enough,” Landau continued.

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