Gulf of Mexico dead zone, where low oxygen suffocates marine life, is now larger than the CONNECTICUT

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Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, where low oxygen suffocates marine life, is now larger than CONNECTICUT due to high freshwater runoff from the Mississippi River

  • NOAA Scientists Found This Year’s Gulf Of Mexico Dead Zone Is Larger Than Average
  • It measured 6,334 square miles while it stayed around 5,380 square miles
  • Increase is due to high freshwater runoff from the Mississippi River
  • Runoff measured above normal a few weeks before data was taken










This year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone – an area with low oxygen that can kill fish and marine life – is larger than average, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday. .

Data shows the dead zone has been 5,380 square miles over the past five years, but recent measurements show it is now 6,334 square miles – an area slightly larger than Connecticut.

The dead zone covers a large area of ​​the bottom waters of the gulf that contains less than two parts per million of oxygen, a condition called hypoxia, which suffocates organisms living on the bottom.

NOAA attributes the larger-than-normal dead zone to high freshwater runoff from the Mississippi River, which was above normal for three weeks before the agency carried out the test.

“Each year, excess nutrients from cities, farms and other sources in the upland watersheds flow into the Gulf and stimulate algae growth in the spring and summer,” NOAA explained in its report. “The algae eventually die, sink and decompose.”

“Throughout this process, the oxygen-consuming bacteria break down the algae,” the report continues.

“The resulting low oxygen levels near the bottom are insufficient to support most marine life, rendering the habitat unusable and forcing species to move to other areas in order to survive.”

Data shows the dead zone has been 5,380 square miles over the past five years, but recent measurements show it is now 6,334 square miles – an area slightly larger than Connecticut

The nutrient runoff from the Mississippi River plays an important role in determining the size of the dead zone.

This nutrient pollution, mainly from agriculture and runoff from developed lands in the Mississippi River watershed, affects coastal resources and Gulf habitats by stimulating the growth of algae.

Eventually, the algae break down, which uses up the oxygen needed for life in the Gulf.

This loss of oxygen in the water can result in the loss of fish habitat or force them to move to other areas in order to survive.

NOAA has started

NOAA has started

This also leads to a decrease in the reproductive capacities of fish species and a reduction in the average size of the shrimp caught.

Nancy Rabalais, a researcher at Louisiana State University who has led the dead zone studies for years, said in a statement: “The distribution of low dissolved oxygen was unusual this summer.

“The area from the Mississippi River to the Atchafalaya River, which is generally larger than the area west of the Atchafalaya, was smaller.

“The area west of the Atchafalaya River was much larger.

“The low oxygen conditions were very close to shore, with many observations showing an almost complete lack of oxygen.”

NOAA attributes the larger-than-normal dead zone to high freshwater runoff from the Mississippi River, which was measured above normal for three weeks before the agency carried out the test.

NOAA attributes the larger-than-normal dead zone to high freshwater runoff from the Mississippi River, which was measured above normal for three weeks before the agency carried out the test.

NOAA predicted in June that the hypoxic zone would be 4,880 square miles, but freshwater runoff was higher than expected and is now 2.8 times larger than the 2035 target set by the group. work on hypoxia.

However, the largest measurement to date is 8,776 square miles in 2017.

EPA deputy administrator for water, Radhika Fox, said in a statement: “This year we have seen time and again the profound effect of climate change on our communities – from the historic drought in the west to flooding Climate is directly related to water, including the flow of nutrient pollution into the Gulf of Mexico.

“As we work to combat the hypoxic zone of the Gulf of Mexico, we must consider climate change and we must strengthen our collaboration and partnerships to make the necessary progress. “

The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone is a large, low oxygen region that kills any marine life that enters

A dead zone is an area with low oxygen content that can kill fish and marine life.

The nutrient runoff from the Mississippi River contributes to the dead zone.

This nutrient pollution, mainly from agriculture and runoff from developed lands in the Mississippi River watershed, affects coastal resources and Gulf habitats by stimulating the growth of algae.

Eventually, the algae break down, which uses up the oxygen needed for life in the Gulf.

This loss of oxygen in the water can result in the loss of fish habitat or force them to move to other areas in order to survive.

This also leads to a decrease in the reproductive capacities of fish species and a reduction in the average size of the shrimp caught.

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