Ocean Circulation Lab
USF College of Marine Science
















The nowcast/forecast system and other analyses/data are research products under development. No warranty is made, expressed or implied, regarding accuracy, or regarding the suitability for any particular application. All rights reserved University of South Florida, Ocean Circulation Lab.
Copyright University of South Florida 2010

Red Tide Prediction and Tracking for the Tampa Bay Region

Upper Water Column HAB Trajectories

The "X" represents the starting point where each sample was collected. The lines show the 3.5 day trajectory for each sample. The color represents the red tide concentration for each sample. Black lines represent simulated drifter trajectories.

Lower Water Column HAB Trajectories

Coastal Red Tide Prediction

This red tide short-term tracking product is a collaboration between the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida (CMS-USF) and the Florida Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). Observations of Karenia brevis red tide cell concentration are put into the Tampa Bay Circulation Nowcast/Forecast Model (TBCOM), resulting in 1 day hindcast and 3.5 days forecast of the red tide trajectories. The "X" represents the starting point where each sample was collected. The lines show the 3.5 day trajectory for each sample. The color represents the red tide concentration for each sample. Black lines are not indicative of red tide; instead, they show where the current would take a simulated buoyant particle. These may be useful for search and rescue, or for tracking hazardous spills. The short-term red tide trajectory forecast products (uppper and lower water columns) are updated daily in the early morning.

Given the short-term forecasts and the recognition that the spatial sampling is limited, blooms may be patchy, and trajectory forecasts include errors, we further produce a more general and user-friendly map to show where a red tide bloom may occur along the coast over the next several days. This product is updated every Wednesday and Friday.

Similar short-term forecast products for the entire West Florida Shelf coast can be seen from this webpage. Seasonal prediction of major red tide blooms is also made based on the satellite altimetry analysis.


Liu, Y., Weisberg, R.H., Zheng, L., Hubbard, K.A., Muhlbach, E.G., Garrett, M.J., Hu, C., Cannizzaro, J.P., Xie, Y., Chen, J., John, S., Liu, L.Y. (2023), Short-term forecast of Karenia brevis trajectory on the West Florida Shelf, Deep-Sea Research Part II, 212, 105335, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2023.105335

Liu, Y., Weisberg, R.H., Zheng, L., Heil, C.A., Hubbard, K.A. (2022), Termination of the 2018 Florida red tide event: A tracer model perspective, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 272, 107901, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2022.107901

Weisberg, R.H., Liu, Y., Lembke, C., Hu, C., Hubbard, K., Garrett, M. (2019), The coastal ocean circulation influence on the 2018 West Florida Shelf K. brevis red tide bloom, Journal of Geophysical Research Oceans, 124, 2501-2512, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JC014887

Liu, Y., R.H. Weisberg, J.M. Lenes, L. Zheng, K. Hubbard, and J.J. Walsh (2016), Offshore forcing on the "pressure point" of the West Florida Shelf: Anomalous upwelling and its influence on harmful algal blooms, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 121, 5501-5515, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016JC011938.

Weisberg, R.H., L. Zheng, Y. Liu, A.A. Corcoran, C. Lembke, C. Hu, J.M. Lenes, and J.J. Walsh (2016), Karenia brevis blooms on the West Florida Shelf: A comparative study of the robust 2012 bloom and the nearly null 2013 event, Cont. Shelf Res., 120, 106-121, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2016.03.011.

Weisberg, R.H., L. Zheng, Y. Liu, C. Lembke, J.M. Lenes, and J.J. Walsh (2014), Why no red tide was observed on the west Florida continental shelf in 2010, Harmful Algae, 38, 119-136, doi:10.1016/j.hal.2014.04.010.

Chen, J., Weisberg, R.H., Liu, Y., & Zheng, L. (2018), The Tampa Bay Coastal Ocean Circulation Model performance for Hurricane Irma, MTS Journal, 52(3), 33-42, https://doi.org/10.4031/MTSJ.52.3.6.


The Tampa Bay Circulation Nowcast/Forecast Model (TBCOM) project is funded by the Pinellas County RESTORE Act Program to the College of Marine Science (CMS) at University of South Florida (USF). The HAB tracking tool has benefited from several sources of funding beginning with the FWC and USF. Additional resources from ONR, NOAA and NASA have helped advance the modeling effort over the years.Current support is by NOAA/IOOS/SECOORA, NOAA/USF COMIT, NOAA/ECOHAB, State of Forida through FWC/FWRI, and Florida DEP.