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Summer Hypoxic Zone Size Will Be Large

Summer Hypoxic Zone Size Will Be Large

June 18, 2013

The June 2013 forecast of the size of the hypoxic zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico for July 2013 is that it will cover 22,172 km2 (8,561 mi2) of the bottom of the continental shelf off Louisiana and Texas. The area, if it reaches the predicted size, will be at or near the largest size since routine monitoring of the ‘Dead Zone’ off Louisiana and Texas began in 1985. The predicted hypoxic area for 2013 is about the area of New Jersey.

Each year a hypoxic water mass with oxygen concentrations < 2 mg l-1 forms in bottom waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf. The low oxygen conditions threaten living resources including humans that depend on fish, shrimp and crabs. Nutrients from the Mississippi River watershed, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, fertilize the surface waters to create excessive amounts of algal biomass, whose decomposition in the bottom layer leads to oxygen distress and even organism death in the Gulf's richest waters.

For more information:
Click here to read the press release

or visit: Gulfhypoxia.net