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Experts in Aurora discuss Cayuga Lake harmful algae

Dozens gathered at the Aurora Inn Saturday for a wide-ranging discussion on the interaction between harmful algal blooms, climate change, nutrients and more in the Cayuga Lake Watershed.

Presented by the Community Science Institute, which partners with the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network to monitor HABs on the lake, the discussion featured experts in biochemistry, climatology, meteorology and agriculture.

Much of the discussion focused on how climate change is affecting, and in many cases intensifying, existing phenomena.

Mark Wysocki, a senior lecturer in meteorology and a New York State Climatologist at Cornell University, explained the importance of distinguishing between weather and climate, namely that weather is day-to-day variability and climate is the long-term, global trends.

"Outside is weather," Wysocki said, gesturing toward the visibly windy lake, "If you were to sit here for 30 years then outside would be climate."

Based on climate prediction models from Princeton University, Wysocki said, New York is likely to experience a 65-percent increase in precipitation, meaning an additional 20-25 inches per year, by the end of the century, and it's possible to mostly be in the form of extreme rain events.

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