[Over 400 dead zones dot the globe (see black dots above). There seems to be a bit of a graveyard forming in the Eastern US and Northern Europe...]

An interesting article in Science chronicles the ever rising numbers of dead zones. Dead zones are oxygenless waters as a result of activities such as riverine runoff of fertilizers and other algae-multiplying nutrients. As written by Diaz and Rosenberg, "Dead zones have now been reported from more than 400 systems, affecting a total area of more than 245,000 square kilometers (95,000 miles2), and are probably a key stressor on marine ecosystems." Their murky waters generate blackholes in the ocean - no fish, therefore no birds, no recreational or commercial fishing. And shift infrastructures - boat routes, port activity, a

Dead zones have been tracked sine the 1970s, but have increasingly expanded their locations, their reach, and are lingering after summer.

[Several visible sites with expanding dead zones. Mississippi Delta at the top, with Yangtze River in the bottom left and Pearl River in the bottom right. The dead zones are the tinted clouds swirling at the coastal edge. Image via the SeaWiFS of NASA.]
[The Gulf of Mexico dead zone.]

Clocking in at over 8000 square miles (21,000 km2) this year, probably the largest dead zone today stems from the Mississippi River delta in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a site at the confluence of significant farming in the midwest and significant fishing (and shrimping) in the Gulf area. The dead zone spans east to west along the Louisiana and Texas coasts. The hypoxic region expands during the summer, so shrimpers and fishermen are casting their lines and nets farther out in the Gulf.

For more see an article in today's Time magazine.

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