A new study elaborated by American researchers anticipates that the Gulf of Mexico will be affected by one of the largest dead zones in history during the summer. The dead zone, which is known to researchers as hypoxia is an area were the water has a low concentration of dissolved oxygen, and it is no longer capable of supporting life. The size of dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico has been observed and explored by researchers over several decades.
The first manifestation of the grim phenomenon was observed in the 1970s, and their size has continued to grow in recent years. According to some estimations, the second-largest dead zone on record may appear in July.
Researchers from the Lousiana State University believe that 8,717 square miles of compromised water will span the continental shelf between Louisiana and Texas, an area which is on par with the size of the entire state of New Jersey. The largest dead zone was observed in 2017 when it reached 8,776 square miles.
The dead zone of the Gulf of Mexico to get larger than ever during this summer
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also released a dead zone prediction report. However, this report anticipates a smaller dead zone with a size of 7,829 square miles. The size may be smaller, but it still considerably more prominent in comparison with the five-year average of 5,770 square miles. It is essential to take into account that the two papers used different models for the estimations.
The dead zone will appear in areas where many fishing vessels can be encountered, which means that they will have to travel across a more considerable distance to find fish and bring it back to the land. The dead zone has the potential to be bigger than the estimations suggest, a possibility which isn’t ruled out by the researchers.
The dead zone is influenced by runoff from the Mississippi, one of the largest rivers in the world. A large amount of rain led to more water, which reaches the Gulf, and the contaminated water affects the natural balance of the gulf.