June 17, 2019

Gulf of Mexico dead zone bigger than ever

12 June 2019, 11:11 | Edward Lowe

Very large 'dead zone' forecast for Gulf of Mexico

Scientists predict 'very large dead zone' in Gulf of Mexico

Scientists are predicting a near-record Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" - an area where the water holds too little oxygen to sustain marine life. These low oxygen conditions in the most productive waters of the Gulf affect the organisms in the area and can even cause their death, thus threatening the living resources, including fish, shrimp and crabs that are caught there.

A separate forecast from federal scientists on the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also predicted an strangely gargantuan slow zone, individual who's roughly 7,829 square miles, which is ready the scale of MA.

The record set in 2017 is 8,776 square miles.

The forecast was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which funds the scientists' work, and is based on U.S. Geological Survey river flow and nutrient data.

Numerous water quality efforts in the Mississippi River basin, which feeds into the gulf, are as much about addressing the dead zone as they are about trying to make rivers and lakes in the Midwest less green. The map illustrates how runoff from farms (green areas) and cities (red areas) drains into the MS, delivering nutrients into the Gulf of Mexico and fueling the annual hypoxic zone.

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An NOAA-supported monitoring survey will confirm the size of the 2019 Gulf dead zone in early August, a key test of the accuracy of the models.

The Environmental Protection Agency's Hypoxia Task Force set a target goal of reducing the five-year average size of the dead zone down to 1,900 square miles, but that figure is far from today's reality.

The nutrients feed algae, which die and then decompose on the ocean ground, the employ of up oxygen from the bottom up in an space along the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.

The annually recurring Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone is primarily caused by excess nutrient pollution from human activities, such as urbanization and agriculture, occurring throughout the Mississippi River watershed.

We need to create and use more ecologically friendly fertilizers so that when this flooding happens, it doesn't take it to the Gulf to create these dead zones in the first place.

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Annual forecasts and measurements of the Gulf slow zone started in 1985. "No reductions in the nitrate loading from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico have occurred in the last few decades".

Rabalais and her team will spend 10 days mapping this year's dead zone at the end of July.

This map shows how pollution from cities and farms flows down into the Gulf of Mexico.

This one year's zone must be about 8,717 square miles, an home roughly the scale of Current Hampshire, in line with researchers at Louisiana Teach University.

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