Very large 'dead zone' forecast for Gulf of Mexico

12 Juin, 2019, 23:12 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Nancy Rabalais on the July 2017 Gulf of Mexico dead zone research cruise

It will be measured during an annual July cruise by Nancy Rabalais of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, who has been measuring the zone since 1985. Because of fertilizer use, agricultural lands contain high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus, two of the main ingredients in fertilizers. "No reductions in the nitrate loading from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico have occurred in the last few decades".

A near record-sized "dead zone" of oxygen-starved water could form in the Gulf of Mexico this summer, threatening its huge stocks of marine life, researchers said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an area of about 7,800 square miles (20,200 square kilometers), roughly the size of MA or Slovenia.

Shrimp boat in Biloxi channel with nets out shrimping while pelicans and sea gulls chase it down the channel. There'll nearly certainly be an annual slow zone in the Chesapeake Bay. According to the US Geological Survey.

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 Gulf supplies 72 percent of US harvested shrimp, 66 percent of harvested oysters, and 16 percent of commercial fish. There is another annual dead zone in the mid-Atlantic's Chesapeake Bay.

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.

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A role pressure of federal, tribal and express agencies from 12 of the 31 states that make up the Mississippi River watershed express a goal with regards to Twenty years within the past of lowering the ineffective zone from an sensible of about 5,800 sq. miles (15,000 sq. kilometers) to an sensible of 1,900 (4,900).

A hypoxic zone is an area where oxygen concentration is so low it chokes out marine life.

"The assessment predicts an increase in the frequency of very heavy precipitation events in the Midwest, Great Plains, and Southeast regions, which would impact nutrient input to the northern Gulf of Mexico and the size of the hypoxic zone".

A Louisiana-based team's estimate is 8,700 square miles (22,560 square kilometers), unless a storm churns oxygen into the water.

Fish and shrimp and other "swimming" organisms can leave the area in search of a better habitat, but clams, oysters and slow-moving crustaceans (including crabs) aren't so lucky.

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