Record ‘dead zone’ predicted in Gulf of Mexico
The so-called dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico — a region of oxygen-depleted water off the Louisiana and Texas coasts that is harmful to sea life — is predicted to be the largest ever recorded when it develops later this summer, scientists report.
The unusually large size of the zone is due to the extreme flooding of the Mississippi River this spring, which equaled or surpassed the historic floods of 1927 and 1937, according to the National Weather Service.
The dead zone occurs at the bottom of the Gulf when there is not enough oxygen in the water to support marine life. Also known as hypoxia, it is created by nutrient runoff, mostly from over-application of fertilizer on agricultural fields.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees the dead zone research, 41% of the contiguous USA drains into the Mississippi River and then out to the Gulf of Mexico. The majority of the land in the Mississippi’s watershed is farmland.
Excess nutrients such as nitrogen can spur the growth of algae, and when the algae die, their decay consumes oxygen faster than it can be brought down from the surface, NOAA says. As a result, fish, shrimp and crabs can suffocate.
The entire depth of the Gulf is not a dead zone, only the bottom two meters, says Steve DiMarco, an associate professor of oceanography at Texas A&M.
What happens to the sea life in that dead zone? Don Scavia, a professor of natural resources at the University of Michigan, says that most anything that can swim away leaves, but that anything that can’t leave, such as the bottom-dwelling bugs that fish and shrimp feed on, will die.
“The dead zone is an annual event,” he says. The problem repairs itself by fall but, meanwhile, affects commercial fisheries.
In a typical year, Scavia says the dead zone extends from the Mississippi Delta to the Texas-Louisiana border. This one will likely extend farther to the west than those in previous years, he reports.
Scientists say the area could measure between 8,500 and 9,421 square miles, or an area about the size of New Hampshire. If it does reach those that size, it will be the largest since mapping of the Gulf dead zone began in 1985.
Shared with this Ministry during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: “The dead sea life from the sea alone, not counting the water fowls, will be so numerous as the dead float to the top of the ocean waters, and the stench of decaying oceanic remains, that it will be impossible to clear the ocean of the deadly brew that will start moving through the ocean currents to other areas of the earth’s oceans that surround this planet; that is what the demons were referring to about the “domino effect.” Even they are smart enough to know that the disruption of sea life is catastrophic; we are talking about the cessation of the lives of millions of fish and other sea borne life forms that will die and rot in the oceans of this planet; shipping goods will be disrupted because of the flotilla of carnage in the sea; as mankind tries to correct the growing catastrophe, they will cause a loss of many ships because things will get even further out of hand. The Gulf will represent the loss of the first third of deaths to sea life.“