Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warn that there is a huge ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico that continues to grow and could reach its record level this year 2019.
According to the statement issued by NOAA, the forecast for this year is close to the record level of about 22,700 square kilometers, established in 2017. It is expected to be higher than the five-year average, which was about 14,900 square kilometers.
But what does a 'dead zone' mean in the ocean? Dead zones are large bodies of water that contain little or no oxygen. They are called "dead" because very few organisms can survive there. Most of the animals that end up in these places end up suffocating and die.
These dead zones that cause irreparable damage to marine life are produced by two situations as detailed in an investigation led by the Global Ocean Oxygen Network:
- Climate change: the increase in global temperature driven by the accumulation of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, is also a cause of deoxygenation of the seas around the planet. Because warm waters have less oxygen, as surface waters warm, oxygen has more difficulty reaching the depths of the ocean.
- Human action: the dead zones originate, in this case, near regions where water laden with industrial and agricultural waste is discharged. These discharges, which sometimes reach the sea through rivers and rain runoff, cause the phenomenon known as eutrophication, which is an increase of nutrients in the water, mainly oxygen and phosphorus, which causes algae to develop and decomposing bacteria that consume oxygen from the water.
The case of the 'dead zone' of the Gulf of Mexico, considered one of the largest in the world, is caused mainly by excess contamination by nutrients from human activities, such as urbanization and agriculture, which occur throughout the Mississippi river basin, experts explain.
Something that contributed to the growth of this 'dead zone' is the amount of rainfall that occurred in the spring in many parts of the Mississippi River Basin, leading to high river flows and a much higher nutrient load in the river. Gulf of Mexico.
Experts believe that this problem has a solution, stopping climate change requires a global effort by humanity and for local actions, in this case it is enough to control the dumping of waste or seek new actions to change the methodology.
sources: mundo.sputniknews.com, rpp.pe