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Scenario-based Ecosystem Forecast Models Help Mitigate Hypoxia

Representing NOAA at the Ninth National Monitoring Conference, NCCOS’s Dr. Alan Lewitus spoke at a session focused on nutrient monitoring and modeling to restore and protect coastal water quality. His presentation described how scenario-based ecosystem forecast models can generate nutrient reduction targets to achieve hypoxia mitigation goals.

NGOMEX scenario-based ecosystem forecast model ensemble suggests a 35%-45% reduction in nitrogen loads is required to meet the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force Action Plan goal (credit A. Lewitus)

NGOMEX hypoxia forecast model recommends a 35–45% reduction in nitrogen loads to meet Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force goal. Credit: A. Lewitus.

NCCOS administers national competitive programs that assess the causes and impacts of coastal hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen) and develop models to inform coastal managers of the effectiveness of hypoxia prevention and mitigation strategies. Scenario-based ecosystem forecast models can be used to establish prevention and mitigation goals and to validate corrections in prevention and mitigation actions.

NOAA supports a large subset of these models through two national hypoxia programs authorized by the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act: the Coastal Hypoxia Research Program (CHRP) and the Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Hypoxia Assessment Program (NGOMEX).

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