Schmidt, N. University of South Florida, Deparment of Marine Science,
Lipp, E. University of South Florida, Department of Marine Science,

Due to strong El Niņo conditions during late 1997 through early 1998, much of Florida experienced above average precipitation. In the Charlotte Harbor watershed, winter precipitation events, and subsequent discharge into the Harbor, are associated with decreases in water quality. Levels of fecal coliforms, coliphages, enterococci, and Clostridium perfringens, which are indicative of water quality, varied linearly with precipitation and discharge. Extreme events led to discharge of potentially harmful human pathogens into the open shellfishing waters of the Harbor. Examination of monthly precipitation records from 24 locations in Florida reveals statistically significant correlations for most stations between precipitation and Niņo Region 3.4 sea surface temperature anomaly indices since 1950. Using historical records of fecal coliform levels, we relate water quality to ENSO-related precipitation in Florida. As part of a larger examination of ENSO-related water quality phenomena in Florida, these preliminary analyses focus on Charlotte Harbor. Understanding how water quality varies with climatic factors is important for managers and decision makers with responsibility for human safety. Pertinent examples in Florida include decisions to close shellfish harvesting beds and swimming beaches.
Day: Thursday, Feb. 4
Time: 09:30 - 09:45am
Location: Sweeney Center
Code: SS10TH0930S