Gulf of Mexico could see record 'dead zone'

Jun 26, 2013
An aerial view of the Chandeleur islands on June 23, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico along the coast of Louisiana. The Gulf of Mexico could see a record-size dead zone this year of oxygen-deprived waters resulting from pollution, US scientists have cautioned based on government data models.

The Gulf of Mexico could see a record-size dead zone this year of oxygen-deprived waters resulting from pollution, US scientists have cautioned based on government data models.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's forecasts said the dead zone could be as large as New Jersey, or up to 8,561 square miles (22,172 square kilometers).

Dead zones are toxic to marine life and are caused by excessive due to agriculture runoff. They are influenced by weather, precipitation, wind and temperature.

When there is little oxygen in the water, most marine life near the bottom is unable to survive.

"This year's prediction for the Gulf reflects in the Midwest that caused large amounts of nutrients to be transported from the Mississippi watershed to the Gulf," NOAA said in a statement.

"Last year's dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico was the fourth smallest on record due to drought conditions, covering an area of approximately 2,889 square miles."

The final results will not be known until August. If the region gets a big tropical storm between early July and early August, the estimate would drop to 5,344 square miles.

Over the past five years, the Gulf's dead zone has averaged about 5,600 square miles.

The largest dead zone on record for the waters off Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Mexico was 8,481 square miles in 2002.

NOAA said the Gulf of Mexico dead zone affects "nationally important commercial and , and threatens the region's economy."

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

Related Stories

Researcher: Smaller 'dead zone' recorded in Gulf

Jul 29, 2012

A new report says this year's Gulf of Mexico "dead zone," an area of low oxygen that develops every spring and summer, is the fourth-smallest since measurements of the zones began in 1985.

Scientists find changes to Gulf of Mexico dead zone

Aug 09, 2010

NOAA-supported scientists have found this year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be the fifth largest on record at 7,722 square miles - an area the size of New Jersey, near the upper limit of their projections, ...

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Jul 03, 2015

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

Jul 03, 2015

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

Jul 03, 2015

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

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.