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NOAA Forecast Predicts Large “Dead Zone” for Gulf this Summer

A team of NCCOS-supported scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Louisiana State University, and the University of Michigan is forecasting that the “dead zone” off the coast of Louisiana and Texas in the Gulf of Mexico this summer could be one of the largest on record. The dead zone is an area in the Gulf of Mexico where seasonal oxygen levels drop too low to support most life in bottom and near-bottom waters. Scientists are predicting the area could measure between 7,450 and 8,456 square miles, or roughly the size of New Jersey. NOAA has funded investigations and forecast development for the dead zone since 1990. This advanced warning is just one example of NOAA’s growing ecological forecasting capabilities that are helping coastal managers protect valuable resources and coastal economies in a proactive manner. View the press release.Graph illustrating 2009 forecasted area (red area represents the range of the forecast)

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