2016 Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Forecast

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Scientists forecast that this year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone will be approximately 5,898 square miles, the same range as it has averaged over the last several years.

Hypoxic zones are areas in the ocean of such low oxygen concentration that animal life suffocates and dies, and as a result are sometimes called “dead zones.”

One of North America’s largest dead zones forms in the Gulf of Mexico every spring. The dead zone affects nationally important commercial and recreational fisheries.

Forecast models were developed by NOAA-sponsored modeling teams and researchers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences/College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, North Carolina State University, and the United States Geological Survey. The Gulf of Mexico hypoxia forecast is based on nutrient runoff and river and  stream data from USGS.

The confirmed size of the 2016 Gulf dead zone will be released in early August, following a monitoring survey from July 24 to August 1, conducted on a NOAA vessel and funded through a partnership between NOAA, Northern Gulf Institute, and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.

source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration