Fairfax Media Network

Weather News

Rusty leaves algal bloom 'the size of Tasmania'

Thursday March 7, 2013 - 15:18 EDT

Scientists from the University of Western Australia say they have been surprised by the impact of Cyclone Rusty on the sea off the Pilbara coast.

Special instruments have revealed turbidity levels in the ocean increased to unprecedented levels as a result of the storm.

Professor Charitha Pattiaratchi says Rusty left behind a huge algal bloom that can be seen from space.

He says he does not believe the natural bloom will impact on the Pilbara coast.

"The winds are probably offshore and the tides are taking it offshore, so it's probably not going to impact the coastal region but you have to remember that this is a natural event, it's probably been happening for a long time or every tropical cyclone but we are now able to document it," he said.

"This is the first time that we have managed to do that.

"So all this stirring up of the seabed, brought a lot of nutrients into the water column and created an algae bloom.

"This algae bloom now is the size of Tasmania, so it's pretty large.

"Now we can actually see the effect of that big bloom in the Pilbara."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

A stormy outlook for Darwin

13:23 EDT

Darwin is on track to reach their December average rainfall, which is already sitting at the halfway mark.

Unsettled spell for Perth

12:23 EDT

The England cricket team may feel more at home, as conditions turn wet and very windy for the end of the third test.

'Simple' calculations predicted floodwaters in 2011, residents near Wivenhoe Dam say

09:20 EDT

Two days before floodwaters threatened the Ipswich region, west of Brisbane, in January 2011, Darren and Brad Zanow knew they had to move their belongings to higher ground.