August 4th, 2004

Warning. Giant Dead Zone

I had never heard of this. And its absolutely horrific.

Full Article (quite short)

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A huge "dead zone" of water so devoid of oxygen that sea life cannot live in it has spread across 5,800 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico this summer in what has become an annual occurrence caused by pollution.

A scientist at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium said on Tuesday measurements showed the dead zone extended from the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeastern Louisiana 250 miles west to near the Texas border and was closer to shore than usual because winds and currents.

"Fish and swimming crabs escape (from the dead zone)," said Nancy Rabalais, the consortium's chief scientist for hypoxia, or low oxygen, research. "Anything else dies."

In the last 30 years, the dead zone has become an annual summer phenomenon, fed by rising use of nitrate-based fertilizers by farmers in the Mississippi watershed, Rabalais told Reuters.

The dead zone's size has varied each year depending on weather conditions, but averages about 5,000 square miles and remains in place until late September or early October.

Virtually nothing is being done to stop the flow of nitrates into the river, meaning the dead zone will reappear every year, Rabalais said.

The only reason the article seems to merit 'news' is that it may have contributed to 3 shark bites. Woopde freaking doo. We've managed to make a seasonal desert in the ocean. Thats the news.