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Here’s how climate change could make future red tide blooms worse

Red Tide blooms have plagued Florida for hundreds of years at least, and scientists say they are not going anywhere.

But could they get worse?

It’s certainly possible in a warming world. The first problem is scientists don’t know enough now to predict what will happen.

“There’s a lot of speculation that climate change is going to impact Red Tides,” said Cynthia Heil, director of the Red Tide Institute at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.

RELATED: Red Tide’s return raises fears about the health of Tampa Bay

Researchers are “at the very start” of studying how shifting conditions could affect blooms, Heil said. After years of inconsistent funding, even more immediate questions remain outstanding, like what exactly ends a bloom and what causes Red Tide to vary so much in severity from year to year.

Meanwhile, the region around Tampa Bay has experienced its second devastating bloom since the beginning of 2018.