Dead Zone

Researchers are expecting the low-oxygen “dead zone” that forms every year in the Gulf of Mexico to remain about the same size.

The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium forecast calls for the dead zone to be about 5,700 square miles.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the dead zone could be smaller — possibly as low as 4,600 square miles this summer.

Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium

The low-oxygen dead zone this summer in the Gulf of Mexico is smaller than scientists had predicted. But the area where marine life can’t live is still about the size of Connecticut.

Nancy Rabalais of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium — called LUMCON — expected the gulf dead zone to be bigger, based on the level of nutrients measured in the Mississippi River.

Those nutrients come from fertilizer, used on crops upriver, that is carried downstream.

But choppy weather churned up the water, so the dead zone wasn’t as big as feared.

This year's dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico may be as large as the state of New Jersey, National Geographic is reporting. The publication quotes scientists who say that would make it the biggest dead zone ever recorded.

Scientists from Louisiana and Michigan have very different predictions for the size of this year's "dead zone" of low-oxygen in the Gulf of Mexico. It will be the smallest in nearly a quarter century at just under 1,200 square miles — or five times that size. 

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation

Scientists have confirmed a “dead zone,’ or low-oxygen water levels, in the Chandeleur Sound. Eileen Fleming reports the area is four times larger than the region found in 2010.