Posts Tagged ‘zone’
NOAA-supported scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and Louisiana State University are forecasting that the “dead zone” off the coast of Louisiana and Texas in the Gulf of Mexico this summer could be the largest on record.
The researchers are predicting the area could measure a record 8,800 square miles, or roughly the size of New Jersey. In 2007, the dead zone was 7,903 square miles. The largest dead zone on record was in 2002, when it measured 8,481 square miles.
The dead zone is an area in the Gulf of Mexico where seasonal oxygen levels drop too low to support most life in bottom and near-bottom waters. This low oxygen, or hypoxic, area is primarily caused by high nutrient levels, which stimulates an overgrowth of algae that sinks and decomposes. The decomposition process in turn depletes dissolved oxygen in the water. The dead zone is of particular concern because it threatens valuable commercial and recreational Gulf fisheries.
Research indicates that the nearly tripling of nitrogen levels into the Gulf over the past 50 years from human activities has led to a dramatic increase in the size of the dead zone. Various models are useful in evaluating the influence of nitrogen loads and other factors on the size of the dead zone. The LSU model has a strong track record of accurately predicting the dead zone’s size.
Know-Nothings and other politically correct copouts will have to rework their rationales a bit for this one. First, record-keeping has been detailed for over a half-century – and is consistent with earlier anecdotal evidence. Second, the compounds threaded through this wasteful disaster are uniquely human-designed and often modified for agribusiness.
And waste is truly what we’re concerned with. This ain’t especially rooftop detritus, folks. It’s over-applied and mis-applied fertilizer and pesticides in combination with poorly treated human waste. It should be dumped into the Potomac so tourists visiting our government treasures might get a whiff of the Heartland, too.