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‘Dead Zone’ in Gulf of Mexico Largest Ever Measured

Posted by feww on August 6, 2017

Gulf of Mexico dead zone measured 22,720 km²

At 22,720 square kilometers (8,776 square miles), this year’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest ever measured, according to NOAA.

Image credit: N. Rabalais, LSU/LUMCON)

“Previously the largest Gulf of Mexico dead zone was measured in 2002, encompassing 8,497 square miles. The average size of the dead zone over the past five years has been about 5,806 square miles, three times larger than the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force target of 1,900 square miles.”

This large dead zone size shows that nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and developed land runoff in the Mississippi River watershed is continuing to affect the nation’s coastal resources and habitats in the Gulf.

These nutrients stimulate massive algal growth that eventually decomposes, which uses up the oxygen needed to support life in the Gulf. This loss of oxygen can cause the loss of fish habitat or force them to move to other areas to survive, decreased reproductive capabilities in fish species and a reduction in the average size of shrimp caught.

Additional graphics available from:

https://gulfhypoxia.net/

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