‘Dead zone’ reduced by Hurricane Barry but still 8th largest
FILE - In this July 13, 2019 file photo, Chris Nguyen and his father, Trung, look at the moving water that breached the top of a levee in Plaquemines Parish just south of New Orleans as Hurricane Barry makes landfall along the coast. Scientists are back from measuring the Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" where there's too little oxygen to sustain marine life in a large underwater area starting at the sea floor. One big question is whether Hurricane Barry reduced the size from a predicted near-record 7,800 square miles. That June forecast was based on measurements of fertilizer and other nutrients carried by Midwestern floods to the Mississippi River. But tropical storms roil the water, mixing in oxygen. (Chris Granger/The Advocate via AP, File)
NEW ORLEANS — This year’s Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” is the eighth largest on record, but Hurricane Barry reduced its size from an expected near record, the scientist who has measured it since 1985 said Thursday.
Every summer, a large underwater area with too little oxygen to sustain marine life forms off Louisiana as nitrogen and other nutrients from the Mississippi River Basin feed blooms of algae that die and decompose on the sea floor. That decomposition uses up oxygen from the bottom up.
A research cruise that ended early Wednesday measured it at 6,950 square miles (18,000 square kilometers), lead researcher Nancy Rabalais said during a media teleconference Thursday.