Hypoxic event ends off Oregon coast

Oct 30, 2006

U.S. scientists say the longest, largest and most devastating hypoxic event ever observed in marine waters off the Oregon Coast has finally ended.

Oregon State University researchers say the event -- the fifth "dead zone" in five years -- was one for the record books, stretching farther north and reaching closer to shore than ever before.

More importantly, the scientists said, oxygen levels were by far the lowest ever recorded on the near shore of Oregon, approaching "anoxic" conditions in some places -- or the complete lack of oxygen.

"Given what's happened, it would not be surprising if hypoxic conditions developed next year as well, but we can't say that for sure," said Jack Barth, OSU professor of oceanic and atmospheric sciences.

When the system operates normally, upwelling off Oregon is usually a process that brings deep, cold, nutrient rich waters to the surface near the coast, resulting in one of the nation's more productive fisheries. When that process breaks down due to unusual winds, phytoplankton blooms that are healthy in moderation become too extreme, leading to concentrations of low-oxygen water near the sea floor.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: California farmers agree to drastically cut water use

Related Stories

Climate change may be stoking stronger winds, altered oceans

Feb 02, 2009

The specter of an ocean floor littered with dead shellfish, rock fish, sea stars and other marine life off the Oregon coast spurred Mark Snyder, a climate change expert, to investigate whether California's coast faced a similar ...

Changes in west coast marine ecosystems significant

Feb 17, 2007

The California Current system has experienced significant changes during the past decade, resulting in dramatic variations in the ecosystem characterized by shifts in phytoplankton production, expanding hypoxic zones, and ...

Recommended for you

Pipeline that leaked wasn't equipped with auto shut-off

14 hours ago

The pipeline that leaked thousands of gallons of oil on the California coast was the only pipe of its kind in the county not required to have an automatic shut-off valve because of a court fight nearly three ...

California farmers agree to drastically cut water use

May 23, 2015

California farmers who hold some of the state's strongest water rights avoided the threat of deep mandatory cuts when the state accepted their proposal to voluntarily reduce consumption by 25 percent amid ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.