Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium

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7:00 am
Tue July 30, 2013

This Summer's Gulf Dead Zone Smaller Than Feared

2013 Gulf of Mexico dead zone map.
Credit 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.

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