Near-record ‘dead zone’ predicted in Gulf of Mexico

Federico Mansilla
Junio 12, 2019

NOAA drew a direct line between the dead zone and the price of shrimp in 2017. Heavy rains fueled end to-chronicle flooding along the Mississippi River for the length of the spring. When those nutrients reach the mouth of the river and flow into the warm waters of the Gulf, they prompt an overgrowth of algae.

The Gulf of Mexico hosts a human-caused "dead zone" every summer that kills off marine life, and 2019 could be a doozy.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an area of about 7,800 square miles (20,200 square kilometers), roughly the size of MA or Slovenia.

It will be measured during an annual July cruise by Nancy Rabalais of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. According to the US Geological Survey.

The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is the second largest in the world. The Gulf supplies 72 percent of US harvested shrimp, 66 percent of harvested oysters, and 16 percent of commercial fish. It's created by runoff from over-application of fertilizer on agricultural fields that filter straight into the Mississippi River which empties into the Gulf.

The gulf dead zone is primarily the result of nutrient pollution.

NOAA issues a dead zone forecast each year and refines the models used by the Hypoxia Task Force to set nutrient reduction targets and better understand the link between hypoxia and nutrients. 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.

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"Whereas this one year's zone shall be bigger than approved thanks to the flooding, the long-length of time pattern is unruffled now no longer changing", acknowledged University of MI aquatic ecologist Don Scavia in a assertion.

Rabalais has been measuring the hypoxic zone since 1985.

Today is the day for the 2019 Gulf of Mexico #deadzone prediction.

This map shows how pollution from cities and farms flows down into the Gulf of Mexico.

USGS operates more than 3,000 real-time stream gauges, 50 real-time nitrate sensors and 35 long-term monitoring sites throughout the Mississippi-Atchafalaya watershed, which drains all rivers and streams in parts or all of 31 states and two Canadian provinces into the Gulf of Mexico.

According to researchers at Louisiana State University, this year's dead zone off the Louisiana and Texas coasts should be about 8,717 square miles.

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