Published: Wed, June 12, 2019
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2019 'Dead Zone' May Be The Second Largest On Record

2019 'Dead Zone' May Be The Second Largest On Record

ANN ARBOR-University of MI scientists and their colleagues are forecasting that this summer's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone or "dead zone"-an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life-will be approximately 7,829 square miles, or roughly the size of MA". These low oxygen conditions in the most productive waters of the Gulf affect the organisms in the area and can even cause their death, thus threatening the living resources, including fish, shrimp and crabs that are caught there.

Scientists estimate it could cover 7,829 square miles (20,277 square kilometers), roughly the size of the state of MA or the country of Slovenia. That's about the size of New Hampshire, and would be just smaller than the 8,776 square miles measured in 2017.

"While this year's zone will be better than long-established on yarn of of the flooding, the long-time duration pattern is mild no longer changing", University of MI aquatic ecologist Don Scavia, professor emeritus at the College for Ambiance and Sustainability, stated in a news birth.

It depends. Shrimp and fish leaving the dead zone around Louisiana and MS might end up in Galveston Bay and we could have a banner year for shrimping and fishing.

It is estimated that the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus entering the Gulf of Mexico this year will be 18 to 49 percent above average\, according to Business Insider.

The dead zone, known to scientists as hypoxia, occurs when nitrogen from fertilizers, wastes and decaying plant matter feeds algae that consume oxygen when they die.

Scientists said heavy rain this spring is likely part of the reason for the predicted size.

Annual forecasts and measurements of the Gulf slow zone started in 1985. "This year's historic and sustained river flows will test the accuracy of these models in extreme conditions, which are likely to occur more frequently in the future, according to the latest National Climate Assessment".

Those fertilizers contain nitrates and phosphorous, which go into the Mississippi River water and empties into the Gulf.

Rabalais and her team will spend 10 days mapping this year's dead zone at the end of July.

An oxygen-starved hypoxic zone, commonly called a dead zone and shown in red, forms each summer in the Gulf of Mexico. When those nutrients reach the mouth of the river and flow into the warm waters of the Gulf, they prompt an overgrowth of algae.

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