Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




WATER WORLD
NOAA-supported scientists find large Gulf dead zone, but smaller than predicted
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 30, 2013


This map shows the hypoxia area on the Louisiana Gulf of Mexico shelf in 2013. Credit: LUMCON (Rabalais), NOAA.

NOAA-supported scientists found a large Gulf of Mexico oxygen-free or hypoxic "dead" zone, but not as large as had been predicted. Measuring 5,840 square miles, an area the size of Connecticut, the 2013 Gulf dead zone indicates nutrients from the Mississippi River watershed are continuing to affect the nation's commercial and recreational marine resources in the Gulf.

"A near-record area was expected because of wet spring conditions in the Mississippi watershed and the resultant high river flows which deliver large amounts of nutrients," said Nancy Rabalais, Ph.D. executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), who led the July 21-28 survey cruise. "But nature's wind-mixing events and winds forcing the mass of low oxygen water towards the east resulted in a slightly above average bottom footprint."

Hypoxia is fueled by nutrient runoff from agricultural and other human activities in the watershed. These nutrients stimulate an overgrowth of algae that sinks, decomposes and consumes most of the oxygen needed to support life.

Normally the low or no oxygen area is found closer to the Gulf floor as the decaying algae settle towards the bottom. This year researchers found many areas across the Gulf where oxygen conditions were severely low at the bottom and animals normally found at the seabed were swimming at the surface.

This is in contrast to 2012, when drought conditions resulted in the fourth smallest dead zones on record, measuring 2,889 square miles, an area slightly larger than Delaware. The largest previous dead zone was in 2002, encompassing 8,481 square miles. The smallest recorded dead zone measured 15 square miles in 1988.

The average size of the dead zone over the past five years has been 5,176 square miles, more than twice the 1,900 square mile goal set by the Gulf of Mexico / Mississippi River Watershed Nutrient Task Force in 2001 and reaffirmed in 2008.

On June 18, NOAA-sponsored forecast models developed by Donald Scavia, Ph.D., University of Michigan, and R. Eugene Turner, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, predicted the Gulf hypoxic zone would range in size from 7,286 to 8,561 square miles.

"NOAA's investment in the Gulf of Mexico continues to yield results that confirm the complex dynamics of hypoxia and provide managers and the public with accurate scientific information for managing and restoring the nation's valuable coastal resources," said Robert Magnien, Ph.D., director of NOAA's Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research.

"For those who depend upon and enjoy the abundant natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico, it is imperative that we intensify our efforts to reduce nutrient pollution before the ecosystem degrades any further."

This annual measurement provides federal and state agencies working on the 2008 Gulf task force implementation actions with the real consequences of inadequate nutrient pollution management. The task force's actions are set for review this summer.

The hypoxic zone off the coast of Louisiana and Texas forms each summer threatening the ecosystem supporting valuable commercial and recreational Gulf fisheries that in 2011 had a commercial dockside value of $818 million and an estimated 23 million recreational fishing trips. The Gulf task force, in its 2008 report, states that "hypoxia has negative impacts on marine resources."

It further states that research on living resources in the Gulf show long term ecological changes in species diversity and a large scale, often rapid change, in the ecosystem's food-web that is both "difficult and impossible to reverse." Additionally, there are numerous annual areas of the Gulf where large scale fish kills occur as a result of hypoxia.

Two surveys conducted in June and early July, one of which was led by a NOAA-supported Texas A and M University team, suggested a large hypoxic zone was forming in the Gulf, though the LUMCON July measurement will be the official one as required of NOAA by the Task Force.

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, in conducting its Southeast Monitoring and Assessment Program groundfish surveys, also found large expanses of hypoxia in June-early July. Texas A and M will be conducting a follow-up cruise in mid-August to provide its final seasonal update.

.


Related Links
NOAA
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
Newly discovered marine viruses offer glimpse into untapped biodiversity
Tucson AZ (SPX) Jul 26, 2013
Researchers of the University of Arizona's Tucson Marine Phage Lab have discovered a dozen new types of unknown viruses that infect different strains of marine bacteria. Bacteriophages - viruses that prey on bacteria - are less familiar to most people than their flu- or cold-causing cousins, but they control processes of global importance. For example, they determine how much oxygen goes f ... read more


WATER WORLD
Sandy's offspring: baby boom nine months after storm

Malaysia says will get tough on illegal immigrants

More steam in Fukushima reactor building: TEPCO

Fukushima steam still baffling: TEPCO

WATER WORLD
US Lawmaker Seeks to Partner with Russia to Clean Up Space

Superfluid turbulence through the lens of black holes

Perfecting digital imaging

Ancient technology for metal coatings 2,000 years ago can't be matched even today

WATER WORLD
NOAA-supported scientists find large Gulf dead zone, but smaller than predicted

Pollution plagues China's mega water diversion project

Managing waters shared across national boundaries

A life spent in the wettest place on earth

WATER WORLD
Declining sea ice strands baby harp seals

University of Alberta scientists get dirty at the Robson Glacier

Ancient ice melt unearthed in Antarctic mud

Coastal Antarctic permafrost melting faster than expected

WATER WORLD
Research team collaborate to save the bacon

France promises Malaysia no palm oil 'discrimination'

Common agricultural chemicals shown to impair honey bees' health

Full genome map of oil palm indicates a way to raise yields and protect rainforest

WATER WORLD
Devastating long-distance impact of earthquakes

Earthquakes trigger undersea methane reservoirs: study

New Notre Dame study proposes changes in New Orleans area levee systems

Tropical Storm Dorian forms in Atlantic

WATER WORLD
UN cuts back I. Coast force

Nigeria Islamists kill 20 civilians in north: military

Tunisia on brink of internal conflict after assassinations

Covert U.S. flights could signal new Somalia action

WATER WORLD
World's first IVF baby born after preimplantation genome sequencing is now 11 months old

First human tests of new biosensor that warns when athletes are about to 'hit the wall'

Extinct Ancient Ape Did Not Walk Like a Human

Japanese women retake top spot for life expectancy




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement