Chesapeake Bay & Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Predictions

Excerpt from the Baltimore Sun

“Scientists are predicting that the Chesapeake Bay’s oxygen-starved “dead zone” will be slightly larger than average this summer.

Using computer modeling underwritten by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, researchers forecast that by next month, nearly 2 cubic miles of bay water will have inadequate oxygen dissolved in it for fish and crabs to thrive. That’s roughly 12 percent of the water in the bay and its river tributaries, according to Caroline Wicks of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

If it follows the normal pattern, the dead zone will grow and intensify until mid-July, then slowly shrink. About a half cubic mile of bay water is expected to be virtually devoid of oxygen in early summer, researchers predict. By late summer, the oxygen-free “anoxic” zone should shrink to about a third of a cubic mile, scientists say, which is a little better than the long-term average.

The bay forecast was developed by researchers at the University of Michigan and the UM Center for Environmental Science. Scientists in Louisiana, Texas and Virginia also helped with the modeling.”

Tim Wheeler reports for the Baltimore Sun June 26, 2014.

Excerpt from the Times Picayune 

“The size of the annual summer “dead zone” of low-oxygen water in the Gulf of Mexico along Louisiana’s coast will cover between 4,633 and 5,708 miles, about the size of the state of Connecticut, according to a Tuesday forecast announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

That’s about average for the size of the low-oxygen area since 1985, but still a significant concern, scientists say. And the prediction means another year when states along the Mississippi River have failed to sufficiently reduce the nutrients that cause the dead zone, as called for in a 6-year-old federal-state dead zone reduction plan.

The dead zone moniker is used to describe water that scientists label as hypoxic, meaning it has oxygen levels below 2 parts per million, or anoxic, meaning it contains no oxygen.”

Mark Schleifstein reports for the New Orleans Times-Picayune June 24, 2014.

Categories: Hypoxia

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