News

Tool to Capture Marine Biological Activity Gets Coastal Upgrade

"Upwelling hinders an efficient method to estimate a key measure of biological productivity in coastal waters, but accounting for surface temperatures could boost accuracy.

 

Although coastal waters make up only about 10% of the surface area of the ocean, they harbor most of its life. Measuring biological activity in these regions can reveal their impact on fisheries, low-oxygen dead zones, and the global carbon cycle, but coastal zones remain understudied. Now new research by Teeter et al. suggests how to improve the accuracy of a method that uses oxygen and argon measurements to quickly estimate marine biological activity. [...]"

Source: EOS

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Characterization of “dead-zone” eddies in the eastern tropical North Atlantic (2016)

Abstract.

"Localized open-ocean low-oxygen “dead zones” in the eastern tropical North Atlantic are recently discovered ocean features that can develop in dynamically isolated water masses within cyclonic eddies (CE) and anticyclonic mode-water eddies (ACME). Analysis of a comprehensive oxygen dataset obtained from gliders, moorings, research vessels and Argo floats reveals that “dead-zone” eddies are found in surprisingly high numbers and in a large area from about 4 to 22°N, from the shelf at the eastern boundary to 38°W. [...]"

Source: Biogeosciences
Authors: Florian Schütte et al.
DOI: 10.5194/bg-13-5865-2016

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Expanding 'dead zone' in Arabian Sea raises climate change fears

In the waters of the Arabian Sea, a vast "dead zone" the size of Scotland is expanding and scientists say climate change may be to blame. In his lab in Abu Dhabi, Zouhair Lachkar is labouring over a colourful computer model of the Gulf of Oman, showing changing temperatures, sea levels and oxygen concentrations.His models and new research unveiled earlier this year show a worrying trend.Dead zones are areas of the sea where the lack of oxygen makes it difficult for fish to survive and the one in the Arabian Sea is "is the most intense in the world," says Lachkar, a senior scientist at NYU Abu Dhabi in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Source: phys.org

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Chesapeake Bay: Larger-than-average summer 'dead zone' forecast for 2018 after wet spring

"Ecologists from the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science are forecasting a larger-than-average Chesapeake Bay "dead zone" in 2018, due to increased rainfall in the watershed this spring.
 

This summer's Chesapeake Bay hypoxic or dead zone, an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other aquatic life, is expected to be about 1.9 cubic miles (7.9 cubic kilometers), according to the forecast released today by the two universities. [...]"

Source: Phys.org

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Gulf of Mexico 'dead zone' forecasted to exceed the size of Connecticut

"Scientists have predicted the dead zone, or area with little to no oxygen in the northern Gulf of Mexico, will become larger than the state of Connecticut by the end of July. The dead zone will cover about 6,620 square miles of the bottom of the continental shelf off Louisiana and Texas. While there are more than 500 dead zones around the world, the northern Gulf of Mexico dead zone is the second largest human-caused coastal hypoxic area in the world."

Source: Phys.org

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Physical controls on oxygen distribution and denitrification potential in the north west Arabian Sea

Abstract.

"At suboxic oxygen concentrations, key biogeochemical cycles change and denitrification becomes the dominant remineralization pathway. Earth system models predict oxygen loss across most ocean basins in the next century; oxygen minimum zones near suboxia may become suboxic and therefore denitrifying. Using an ocean glider survey and historical data, we show oxygen loss in the Gulf of Oman (from 6‐12 to < 2 μmol kg‐1) not represented in climatologies. [...]"

Source: Grophysical Research Letters
Authors: B. Y. Queste et al.
DOI: 10.1029/2017GL076666

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Growing 'dead zone' confirmed by underwater robots in the Gulf of Oman

"New research reveals a growing 'dead zone' in the Gulf of Oman. Little data has been collected in the area for almost 50 years because of piracy and geopolitical tensions. The area devoid of oxygen was confirmed by underwater robots. Reasearchers found an area larger than Scotland with almost no oxygen left. The environmental disaster is worse than expected with dire consequences for fish and marine plants, plus humans who rely on the oceans for food and employment. "

Source: Science Daily

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Nancy Rabalais - The "dead zone" of the Gulf of Mexico

"Ocean expert Nancy Rabalais tracks the ominously named "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico -- where there isn't enough oxygen in the water to support life. The Gulf has the second largest dead zone in the world; on top of killing fish and crustaceans, it's also killing fisheries in these waters. Rabalais tells us about what's causing it -- and how we can reverse its harmful effects and restore one of America's natural treasures."

Watch the full TED Talk here.


Gulf of Mexico dead zone not expected to shrink anytime soon

"Achieving water quality goals for the Gulf of Mexico may take decades, according to findings by researchers at the University of Waterloo.

The results, which appear in Science, suggest that policy goals for reducing the size of the northern Gulf of Mexico's dead zone may be unrealistic, and that major changes in agricultural and river management practices may be necessary to achieve the desired improvements in water quality.

The transport of large quantities of nitrogen from rivers and streams across the North American corn belt has been linked to the development of a large dead zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico, where massive algal blooms lead to oxygen depletion, making it difficult for marine life to survive.

"Despite the investment of large amounts of money in recent years to improve water quality, the area of last year's dead zone was more than 22,000 km2—about the size of the state of New Jersey," said Kimberly Van Meter, lead author of the paper and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Waterloo. [...]"

Read the full article here.


Dealing with Dead Zones: Hypoxia in the Ocean

When water runs off of farmland and urban centers and flows into our streams and rivers, it is often chock-full of fertilizers and other nutrients. These massive loads of nutrients eventually end up in our coastal ocean, fueling a chain of events that can lead to hypoxic "dead zones" — areas along the sea floor where oxygen is so low it can no longer sustain marine life. In this episode, we're joined by NOAA scientist Alan Lewitus to explore why dead zones form, how the problem of hypoxia is growing worse, and what we're doing about it.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Author: Troy Kitch

Read the full article here.


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