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

Queensland cyclone threat update

11:30 EDT

It's looking more likely that a tropical cyclone will cross the Queensland coast in the coming days.

Tropical low drenches Port Hedland and surrounding cattle country

10:42 EDT

A slow-moving tropical low has drenched the WA mining town of Port Hedland, which has received more than 270 millimetres of rain this week.

Cyclone preparations step up as tropical low expected to strengthen off north Queensland

10:35 EDT

Authorities are preparing for a potential cyclone that could hit the north Queensland coast in coming days, as the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) tracks a tropical low in the Coral Sea that is expected to strengthen.