Oceans

Record setting dead zone expected in Gulf of Mexico

Dead Zone

Scientists with Louisiana State University and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium expect the dead zone forming in the Gulf of Mexico near the Louisiana coastline to be the largest since measurements began in the 1980’s. The dead zone is an area of oxygen-deprived ocean water that forms annually as a result of runoff from the Mississippi River.

Runoff containing nutrient rich fertilizer from midwest farming efforts creates algae blooms that consume all of the available oxygen in the region. While some marine life can swim out of the dead zone, others that are confined to the sea floor such as starfish die as a result of the oxygen deprivation.

Scientists are attributing the increase in the size of the zone to the widespread growth of corn crops to meet ethanol demands. Corn crops require more fertilizer per acre than other crops, leading to more fertilizer being contained in the river runoff.

Demand for biofuels such as ethanol has risen as the price of oil has skyrocketed and pressure to find alternative and renewable fuel sources has escalated.

The resultant dead zone is an example of implications that must be considered when contemplating any alternative source in the move away from a carbon-based energy society.


Additional Reading:

Advertisements

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Connect

   

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7 other followers

Categories

Archives

The Consensus

173 professional scientific organizations (and counting) around the world acknowledge the global impact of rising emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities

The Indicators

Climate Change Indicators Climate Change Indicators NASA GISS - Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature ChangeGlobal Temperature Sea level change from 1993 to the present day Global Sea Level Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly, 1979-Present Arctic Ice Melt Glacial Retreat, 1980-2010 Glacial Retreat Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations, Mauna Loa Atmospheric CO2 Level
%d bloggers like this: