BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Researchers say the annual low-oxygen "dead zone" that forms every summer off the coast of Louisiana will be about average size this year.
According to forecast modeling done through research at a number of universities, including LSU and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, and through support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the dead zone will end up covering between 4,633 square miles to 5,708 square miles this summer. NOAA, in a press release Tuesday, said the actual size of the low-oxygen area will be measured later this year with results released in July or early August.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/UHKryG) last year's dead zone measured 5,840 miles.
The Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force has long set a goal to reduce the annual size of the "dead zone" to less than 1,930 square miles.
The forecast estimate is based in part on measurements of how much nitrates from fertilizer and other sources flowed down the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com