Monday, July 30, 2007

Dead Zone in Gulf is third largest since 1985

Though I'm reticent to link to any news article under the cable-TV-news-ish heading "Planet in Peril", CNN reports that this summer's Gulf of Mexico dead zone has been measured at about 20, 460 km2 in size. That makes it the third largest since measurement began in 1985.

The hypoxic zone was expected to be unusually large this year because of the high flux of nitrogen -- the nutrient that fuels the high productivity on the continental shelf that leads to the consumption of oxygen from the bottom waters -- from the Mississippi River this spring. The blame can likely be placed on the weather and possibly even the increase in corn planting (due to high prices / ethanol demand).

Now off to grab my cape. The planet is in peril.

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