Fun in the sun (and slime)
July 25th, 2011
10:44 AM ET

Thick, green algae covers 200 square miles of Yellow Sea

Almost 200 square miles (500 square kilometers) of the Yellow Sea off China are covered by a massive bloom of green algae, according to a report from China's Xinhua news service.

The bloom has spread to almost 7,400 square miles (19,050 square kilometers) in total and is expected to grow, Xinhua reported, citing the North China Sea Marine Forecasting Center of State Oceanic Administration.

The algae bloom threatens marine life as it sucks oxygen from the water although the algae itself is not poisonous, according to the Xinhua report.

Researchers don't know what causes the massive algae blooms, first seen in the Yellow Sea in 2007.

Tons of the green algae had to be removed in 2008 to make way for sailing events at the Summer Olympics.

"We don't know where it originated and why it's suddenly growing so rapidly," Bao Xianwen from the Qingdao-based Ocean University of China, told the China Daily earlier this month. "It must have something to do with the change in the environment, but we are not scientifically sure of the reasons."

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Filed under: China
soundoff (427 Responses)
  1. rob

    green algae in the yellow must be blue now

    July 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cordes

    Wow, you could make a significant amount of Bio fuel from all of that!

    July 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. M@!

    They don't know the cauase? Try nutrient run-off from industrial farming.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Linda


    July 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kevin H

    This is the price of success in China and it will get worse. China's economy is doing gangbusters but do we really want rivers that burn for years and algae blooms the size of the Great Lakes? Where does it stop? We need to think about this carefully. Nature is hitting the reset button and we're not recognizing it. China needs to rethink its carbon emissions just as the US does. We're ruining the biosphere daily.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stacie

      It's awesome though, because pretty soon humans will go bye-bye ala the dinosaurs! Whoopee! Party at the end of civilization!

      July 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sucks oxygen?

    It pulls O2 from the water? Isn't it a plant, using CO2 and creating O2?

    July 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • random scientist

      See comments from myself and Scott on the previous page. Algae produce and consume oxygen, and bacteria decaying masses of dead algae consume it.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kc_and_fa

    "but we are not scientifically sure of the reasons" is the same as saying "we do not have a polution problem".

    July 25, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CSnSC

    If it can be dried and pressed into sheets of nori sushi may get cheaper.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicklecents

      algae is not the same as seaweed... tard

      July 25, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Che-3

    Can China make "Chinese Noodles" from these Green Algae? How clean are they though for these kids to be swimming in them? It will be a good place for pythons to feed though.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Richard

    They'll likely eat it, like they do everything else living on this planet.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Che-3

      NOTHING goes to waste in China that's what you're really dragging at.

      July 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dana thomas

    Wow that's crazy and quiet scary!

    July 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PushingBack

    This is just one way nature pushes back – it is correcting an imbalance between nutrients. All those that said make biofuel out of it have the right idea – seems like a great place to run a project like that. Also, I'm not sure why the article states that this growth uses oxygen – that goes against what I know about plant growth. Aren't they supposed to convert CO2 to O2?

    July 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Plants in the water like algae do use up oxygen. If you paid attention in science class you would also have read that plants absorb oxygen when photosynthesis stops, which happens every night.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Alex

    This is what happens when you dump all your nitrates into the water! Anything biological produces nitrates eventually, and that decomposition on top of the farm nutrient dumping is causing this mess. I have no sympathy for the Chinese, only the fish that have to endure the mistakes of the naive and stubborn.

    This is not new science, we've known for a long time that too much nutrients = algae blooms = dead zones = no fish.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. malasangre

    yum vegan soylent green

    July 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. G.W. Bush

    I've got the answer! Swimming billygoats! Stupid middle class voters, I just want to "trickle down" on you. My friends in Beijing want to poop green all over you.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
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