FIU will employ high-tech computer modeling to track Biscayne Bay’s pollution problems It’s no mystery what has triggered the algae blooms, ...

FIU will employ high-tech computer modeling to track Biscayne Bay’s pollution problems It’s no mystery what has triggered the algae blooms, ...FIU will employ high-tech computer modeling to track Biscayne Bay’s pollution problems
It’s no mystery what has triggered the algae blooms, fish kills and sea grass die-offs that have troubled Biscayne Bay over the last few years. It’s pollution.

But what pollution, how much and where is it coming from? Those are murky questions that may soon be cleared up with the help of a super high-tech computer modeling system run by Florida International University.

The modeling technology, which can generate simulations in just a few minutes as opposed to days, promises to help scientists and government agencies understand how pollutants like phosphorus and nitrogen are transported through canals into the bay, and the harmful effects they create.

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Knowing how water and pollution circulates is crucial to any project to improve water quality in Miami’s backyard paradise, said Henry Briceno, a professor at the Institute of Environment at Florida International University (FIU).

“What we need is a way to assess the conditions in the bay with a model that is dynamic and with enough density to help us understand what is going on,” Briceno said last week.

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A fish kill in August was yet another warning sign of how the bay’s health is suffering from rising pollution levels and warmer water temperatures, a result of climate change. The decline is not sudden. For decades, the bay has suffered from regulatory neglect, with unfinished projects and poorly executed management plans.

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Low oxygen levels in August triggered a fish kill that was first spotted around Morningside park. Daniel A. Varela DVARELA@MIAMIHERALD.COM

killed thousands of fish
Water quality models use data and mathematical simulations to help policy makers manage pollution and other issues. Modeling the physical and chemical processes that occur in the bay under different circumstances — how the water flows, based on forces that create circulation like tides, wind, rainfall, and inflows from canals, and how pollutants behave — can help agencies stay ahead of pollution events, he said.

FIU’s Biscayne Bay Operational Hydrodynamic, Sediment Transport and Water Quality Model, called BBOM, offers something like a high-resolution photo of the water in the bay, with detailed information about what’s in the water and how it’s moving around.
FULL ARTICLE AND SOURCE MIAMI HERLAD:https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article247508780.html