An examination of the environmental factors important to initiating and sustaining 'brown tide' blooms
The first appearance of the “brown tide” in the early summer of 1985 was over a wide geographic range along the northeast coast of the United States in non-contiguous bodies of water: Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, and Long Island embayments in New York as well as Barnegat Bay in New Jersey (Fig.1) (Nuzzi and Waters, 1989; Olsen, 1989; Sieburth et al., 1988; Sieburth and Johnson, 1989; Smayda and Villareal, 1989). The extent of the blooms was restricted to these coastal bay systems; blooms did not appear to follow a pattern of spreading from one bay system to the next. This suggests that the environmental factors contributing to these “brown tide” blooms were not just localized to specific conditions in a bay system but probably were more regional, e.g. involving meteorologically induced changes. Analysis of rainfall data for Long Island was undertaken using records obtained from Brookhaven National Laboratory at Upton, Long Island. This laboratory is situated between Great South Bay and the Peconic Bays, the two bay systems in which “brown tide” blooms occurred on Long Island (Cosper et al., 1989).