The oxygenation of the water in the bay depends on wind. During August, and sometimes in September, heat waves can result in little to no wind. Wind churns the water column in the bay, exposing new water to the air, which facilitates the transfer of oxygen from the atmosphere to the water. Extended periods of calm weather interrupt this process.
The decomposition of algae can lead to areas with zero dissolved oxygen. Under these conditions, red tides, or algal blooms that thrive in anaerobic environments, are likely to occur. They discolor the water, giving it a red appearance. Red tides can result in fish kills and are a common occurrence in Florida. The cold front that arrived last weekend brought much-needed rain and wind. Hopefully, we have seen the last of the red tides until late next summer.