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: Malaysia air quality 'unhealthy' as haze obscures skies

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

Underwater elephants

1 hour ago

In the high-tech world of science, researchers sometimes need to get back to basics. UC Santa Barbara's Douglas McCauley did just that to study the impacts of the bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) on cor ...

Malaysia air quality 'unhealthy' as haze obscures skies

7 hours ago

Air quality around Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur and on Borneo island was "unhealthy" on Tuesday, with one town reaching "very unhealthy" levels as haze—mostly from forest fires in Indonesia—obscured skies.

User comments : 0