Possible record-setting dead zone for Gulf of Mexico - Soundings Online

Possible record-setting dead zone for Gulf of Mexico

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Scientists are expecting a very large “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico and a smaller than average hypoxic level in Chesapeake Bay this year, based on several NOAA-supported forecast models.

NOAA-supported modelers are forecasting that this year’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic “dead” zone will be between 7,286 and 8,561 square miles which could place it among the 10 largest recorded.

Hypoxic (very low oxygen) and anoxic (no oxygen) zones are caused by excessive nutrient pollution, often from human activities such as agriculture, which results in insufficient oxygen to support most marine life in near-bottom waters. Aspects of weather, including wind speed, wind direction, precipitation and temperature, also impact the size of dead zones.

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