Researchers say that this year’s Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” – where there is very little oxygen to support marine life – is above average. Scientists backed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have decided to cover 6,334 square miles (16,405 square kilometers) off the coast of Louisiana and Texas, the agency said in a statement.
Over the past five years, the minimum oxygen or hypoxic zone has been 5,380 square miles (13,934 square kilometers). This is 2.8 times the target set by the Federal Task Force, reducing the five-year average to 1,900 square miles (4,921 square kilometers) or 2035.
Because year-round measurements can vary widely: this year’s zone is about three times the size of 2020: Noae says the multi-year average “captures the true dynamics of the zone.”
This summer measure was larger than the agency’s average forecast for June, based on Mississippi River Nitrogen and Phosphorus Flow Data. The flow of the river in the Gulf of Mexico was more than normal, before the week-long study began on July 25. Scientists at the Marine Consortium at Louisiana State University and Louisiana State Universities.
“Low-soluble oxygen distribution was unusual during the summer,” says lead researcher Nancy Rabaisis. Many observations of oxygen deficiency were very close to the coast in low oxygen conditions. Throughout the Mississippi River Basin, human activity in urban and agricultural areas is the main cause of the annual “dead zone”.
Excess nutrients flow into the Gulf of Mexico and stimulate, kill, and ripen excess algae. When they sink, the algae deplete their oxygen supply. NOAA highlights the contribution of fertilizers and other pollutants to the hypoxic environment.
Radica Fox, assistant director of water at the Environmental Protection Agency, said climate change should be considered. “This year, we have seen the impact of climate change on our communities,” said Fox. Climate is directly related to water, including the flow of nutrients into the Gulf of Mexico.