Near-record dead zones forecast for Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico

Release Date:

The Virginian-Pilot — by Tamara Dietrich — June 28, 2019

"Heavy rains since last fall have led forecasters to predict near-record dead zones this summer in the Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico — which could affect crab and oyster populations.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects the low-oxygen dead zone in the Chesapeake will grow to 2.1 cubic miles and the no-oxygen dead zone up to 0.63 cubic miles, the fourth-largest volume of the past two decades.

“Although, so far, hypoxia in the bay doesn’t appear to be particularly worse than last year, we are, indeed, expecting that this year will have a large dead zone,” said Marjorie “Marjy” Friedrichs, research professor and climate modeler at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science of the College of William and Mary.

VIMS tracks hypoxia levels in the bay, but also is one of several academic partners for NOAA’s Hypoxia Task Force, providing modeling data used for predictions in the Gulf of Mexico. This summer, NOAA expects the gulf dead zone to hit 7,829 square miles, or about 1.7 times the size of the entire Chesapeake Bay.

That forecast is close to 2017’s record of 8,776 square miles and far larger than the five-year average of 5,770 square miles. . ."

Read the full article at The Virginian-Pilot


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