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Story857434 Breakdown deadlargestmexicozonegulf
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gulf of mexico
dead zone
atlantic ocean
ocean life
associated press
Business Insider
19 d ago
Gulf of Mexico sets a new record for the world's largest 'dead zone'
Google Earth
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — There's an unwanted record in the Gulf of Mexico: This year's "dead zone ," a largely human-caused phenomenon where there's too little oxygen to support marine life, is the biggest ever measured.
The low-oxygen, or hypoxic , zone covers 8,776 square miles (22,720 square kilometers) — about the size of New Jersey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday. The area is more than 3 percent larger than the 2002 dead zone, the previous record.
"We predicted it would be large, and it is large," said scientist Nancy Rabalais, who has been measuring the dead zone since 1985.
She said the area was actually larger, but the July mapping cruise had to stop before reaching the western edge.
"The structure of the water column was changing, so I'm not sure how much larger it would have been," said Rabalais, of Louisiana State University and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium .
Rabalais said winds from the west and southwest apparently had also compressed the eastern half of the low-oxygen area closer to shore than she'd ever seen it. Without those winds, it probably would have covered a broader area, she said.
Studies in the spring had predicted the third-largest dead zone ever — nearly 8,200 square miles (21,200 sq. kilometers).
Those studies are based on examining nitrogen and phosphorus in the Mississippi River. The nutrients, which get carried down from the river, feed plankton blooms that die and sink to the bottom, where their decay uses oxygen.
The smallest measurements were during or after droughts: 1,696 square miles (4,393 square kilometers) in 2000 and 15 square miles (39 square kilometers) in 1988.
"This large dead zone size shows that nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and developed land runoff in the Mississippi River watershed is continuing to affect the nation's coastal resources and habitats in the Gulf," NOAA said in a news release.
It noted that a NOAA-funded study led by Duke University found that the Gulf dead zone may slow shrimp growth, leading to fewer large shrimp, causing short-term disruption in the shrimp market.
A national action plan calls for reducing such runoff so that the dead zone shrinks by two-thirds, to 1,950 square miles (5,000 square kilometers) by 2035.
That would require cutting the amount of nitrogen flowing into the river by 59 percent, according to a study published online Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"While there are undoubtedly significant lag times between action on the land and changes in loads, river nitrate concentrations have not declined since the 1980s," Donald Scavia of the University of Michigan and his coauthors wrote.
He and Rabalais said small-scale projects have shown that runoff can be reduced by practices that include planting cover crops on fields between seasons for corn or soybeans, reducing the amount of fertilizer and using feedstock other than corn to produce biofuels.
"It is time to ask what is preventing more extensive implementation of some or all of these strategies," Scavia wrote.
NOW WATCH: A mother and daughter stopped speaking after Trump was elected — here's their emotional first conversation 6 months later
Daily Mail
20 d ago
Gulf of Mexico has largest dead zone that can kill fish
The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is mainly caused by agriculture and developed land nutrient runoff. This stimulates algal growth, and when it decomposes, it uses up the oxygen needed to support life.
fox news
arden dier
Fox News
20 d ago
Gulf of Mexico's 'dead zone' balloons to the size of New Jersey
In 2014, the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico was found to have shrunk to the size of Connecticut.
dead zone
Ars Technica
20 d ago
Gulf of Mexico dead zone is largest on record
Enlarge / Hypoxic areas are shown in red, where the amount of dissolved oxygen is 2 milligrams per liter, or lower. (credit: N. Rabalais, Louisiana State University & Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium)
Every summer for the last three decades, researchers have cruised the northern Gulf of Mexico during July to study the extent of hypoxia, or low oxygen levels. This summer, they found the largest area ever on record: 22,720 square kilometers, about the size of New Jersey.
This year's "dead zone," where oxygen levels are so low they threaten fish and other small aquatic life, is about 50 percent larger than normal. The average size of the dead zone over the last 31 years has been 14,037 square kilometers, according to Nancy Rabalais, a researcher at Louisiana State University who has long studied the issue. The dead zone was likely even larger than what the scientists found, but there was insufficient time on board the ship to measure its entire extent.
Based upon the hypoxia report released this week, this year's large dead zone was driven primarily by high nitrogen loads from the Mississippi River, due to heavy use of fertilizers in the midwestern United States. In some locations conditions were especially extreme. "A notable feature of this year’s distribution of low oxygen is the mostly continuous band of extremely low oxygen concentrations alongshore at the nearshore edge of the zone," the report states. "Values there were very often less than 0.5 milligrams per liter and close to 0 milligrams per liter."
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National Geographic
21 d ago
New Jersey-Size 'Dead Zone' Is Largest Ever in Gulf of Mexico
the meat industry
The Guardian
22 d ago
Meat industry blamed for largest-ever 'dead zone' in Gulf of Mexico
A new report shows toxins from suppliers to companies like Tyson Foods are pouring into waterways, causing marine life to leave or die
The global meat industry, already implicated in driving global warming and deforestation, has now been blamed for fueling what is expected to be the worst “dead zone” on record in the Gulf of Mexico.
Toxins from manure and fertiliser pouring into waterways are exacerbating huge, harmful algal blooms that create oxygen-deprived stretches of the gulf, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, according to a new report by Mighty , an environmental group chaired by former congressman Henry Waxman.
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