Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone One of the Largest on Record
NCCOS supported scientists have documented that the 2010 “dead zone” (area of hypoxia, or low oxygen) in the northern Gulf of Mexico west of the Mississippi River delta now covers at least 7,722 square miles, nearly the size of the state of New Jersey. This summer’s dead zone is one of the largest recorded since 1985. A large area of hypoxia was found off the coast of Texas and, therefore, it was not possible to fully document the western edge of the zone given time constraints. In the dead zone, where dissolved oxygen is less than 2 mg/L, or ppm, trawlers cannot catch fish or shrimp on the bottom The size of the summer’s dead zone zone is also important as a benchmark against which progress in nutrient reductions in the Mississippi River system can be measured. The dead zone was measured by scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) and Louisiana State University. The measured area closely matches an earlier NCCOS-supported modeling forecast that the 2010 dead zone would measure between 6,500 – 7,800 square miles. NCCOS has supported the mapping of the dead zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico since 1990. For details view the LUMCON Press Release.