Gulf of Mexico's 'dead zone' could hit near-record 8,000 square miles this year, report reveals

Mail Online | 6/10/2019 | Associated Press
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Scientists are predicting a near-record Gulf of Mexico 'dead zone' where the water holds too little oxygen to sustain marine life.

'A major factor contributing to the large dead zone this year is the abnormally high amount of spring rainfall in many parts of the Mississippi River watershed,' the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a news release Monday.

Amounts - Water - Amounts - Fertilizer - Nutrients

That led to record amounts of water carrying large amounts of fertilizer and other nutrients downriver, it said.

The nutrients feed algae, which die and then decompose on the sea floor, using up oxygen from the bottom up in an area along the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.

Low-oxygen - Hypoxic - Area - Miles - Kilometers

The low-oxygen, or hypoxic, area is likely to cover about 7,800 square miles (20,200 square kilometers) - roughly the size of Massachusetts or Slovenia, NOAA said.

A Louisiana-based team has estimated the dead zone will be 8,700 square miles (22,560 square kilometers).

July - Cruise - Nancy - Rabalais - Louisiana

It will be measured during an annual July cruise by Nancy Rabalais of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.

The record set in 2017 is 8,776 square miles (22,700 square kilometers), a bit smaller than...
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