Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .

2015 Gulf 'dead zone' bigger than normal
by Brooks Hays
New Orleans (UPI) Aug 5, 2015

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The low-oxygen "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico has grown larger than normal, NOAA scientists say. At last count, the hypoxic blob covered 6,474 square miles.

A dead zone is an area of low to no oxygen water that can kill marine life, should fish or other marine mammals find themselves trapped in depleted waters. While fish and mammals can usually avoid dead zones, slow-moving shellfish and crustaceans are more vulnerable to suffocation.

Last year's dead zone measured 5,052 square miles. The latest measurements reveal a growing dead zone that is both bigger than average and larger than NOAA's yearly prediction.

Of the more than 550 dead zones found in lakes and oceans around the world, the Gulf's is the second-largest manmade hypoxic zone. The suffocating water is the result of oxygen-depleting phytoplankton blooms encouraged by high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous -- agricultural and sewage treatment runoff delivered by the mighty Mississippi River.

As phytoplankton die and sink to the bottom, bacteria feast upon them, sucking more oxygen from the water. The oxygen-deprived water remains in place until storms churn up the water layers and help replenish the dead zone with fresh oxygen.

NOAA researchers cite the heavy rains that pounded the middle of the country in July as reason for this summer's enlarged dead zone. The latest numbers are the result of a survey undertaken by NOAA scientists.

"An average area was expected because the Mississippi River discharge levels and associated nutrient data from May indicated an average delivery of nutrients during this critical month which stimulates the fuel for the mid-summer dead zone," Nancy Rabalais, executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), said in a press release.

Rabalais led the recent scientific survey that mapped the fish-killing blob in the Gulf.

"Since the models are based largely on the May nitrogen loads from the Mississippi River, the heavy rains that came in June with additional nitrogen and even higher river discharges in July are the possible explanations for the larger size," she said.

In addition to rainfall totals, wind, temperature and currents affect the size and movement of the Gulf's dead zone.

"It would have been even larger without winds out of the west pushing some of the low-oxygen water back to the east," Rabalais told The Times-Picayune.

Previous research has shown that hypoxic conditions in the Gulf result in habitat loss, species displacement and diminished reproductive abilities for many fish.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
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 DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

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

Studying killer whales with an unmanned aerial vehicle
Silver Spring MD (SPX) Aug 01, 2015
Last year, for the first time, scientists used an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, to study killer whales from above. In an article published this month in the Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems, scientists describe how they configured their UAV, turning it into a precision scientific instrument. The international team of scientists from NOAA Fisheries and the Vancouver Aquarium used the ... read more

Payload fit-check for next Ariane 5 mission

SMC goes "2-for-2" on weather delayed launch

China tests new carrier rocket

Arianespace inaugurates new fueling facility for Soyuz upper stage

NASA Mars Orbiter Preparing for Mars Lander's 2016 Arrival

New Website Gathering Public Input on NASA Mars Images

Antarctic Offers Insights Into Life on Mars

Earth and Mars Could Share A Life History

NASA Could Return Humans to the Moon by 2021

Smithsonian embraces crowdfunding to preserve lunar spacesuit

NASA Sets Sights on Robot-Built Moon Colony

Technique may reveal the age of moon rocks during spaceflight

Flowing nitrogen ice glaciers seen on Pluto

New Horizons 'Captures' Two of Pluto's Smaller Moons

New Horizons Finds Second Mountain Range in Pluto's 'Heart'

10 year journey to Pluto achieves historic encounter

Microlensing used to find distant Uranus-sized planet

NASA's Spitzer Confirms Closest Rocky Exoplanet

Finding Another Earth

Kepler Mission Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth

United Launch Alliance announces propulsion development program

Early brake deployment caused SpaceShipTwo accident: NTSB

RS-25 Engine Revs Up Again

India tests locally developed high thrust cryogenic rocket for 800 seconds

Chinese earth station is for exclusively scientific and civilian purposes

Cooperation in satellite technology put Belgium, China to forefront

China set to bolster space, polar security

China's super "eye" to speed up space rendezvous

Science on the surface of a comet

Philae results shed light on the nature of comets

Philae the little lost lander finds organic molecules on comet

Missouri researcher bakes asteroids to find water

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news 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 All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.