Gulf of Mexico's Dead Zone Grows Bigger, Now as Large as Connecticut
The Gulf of Mexico's dead zone has gotten bigger and bigger. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recently released its annual forecast, saying that Mexico's dead zone is now the size of Connecticut.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, dead zones or hypoxic zones can be created naturally or through human activity. These dead zones, which are normally coastal areas where marine life is threatened, are a result of high amounts of pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus.
These pollutants sometimes bleed into the soil or leak into bodies of water and are eaten by algae, resulting in their death. The dead algae decompose in the water, suffocating other marine life.
Russell Callender of the National Ocean Service said as quoted by Tech Times, "Dead zones are a real threat to gulf fisheries and the communities that rely on them. We'll continue to work with our partners to advance the science to reduce that threat. One way we're doing that is by using new tools and resources, like better predictive models, to provide better information to communities and businesses."
NOAA's forecast was based on predictions of four computer models developed by NOAA-sponsored groups from the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences/College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, North Carolina State University and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Don Scavia, an aquatic ecologist, said that even though the said size of Mexico's dead zone is categorized as "average," the expansiveness of the affected area is still very alarming and "unacceptable."
The Union of Concerned Scientists adds that the forecast is threatening because there have been various efforts in controlling the size of these dead zones for two years now.