NOAA releases its prediction for this year"s Gulf dead zone
Posted June 8, 2018 12:24 p.m. EDT
Mobile, AL — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, released its prediction for this year's Gulf dead zone. The dead zone is expected to cover 5,780 square miles, or about the size of Connecticut. The Gulf dead zone typically covers around 5,460 square miles of the Gulf.
Dead zones actually begin from nutrients flowing into the Gulf from the Mississippi River after the agricultural season up north. Algae blooms feed on these nutrients and this causes a massive overgrowth of algae.
Once the algae die, they decompose and this takes up most, if not all, of the oxygen in the water.
With low oxygen levels, all marine life struggles to survive. The resulting area of low oxygen is called a dead zone. Often times, fish kills from the dead zone can wash up along the coastline.
The largest dead zone occurred in 2017 and covered over 8,776 square miles of the Gulf.