August 2, 2017
There’s an unwanted record in the Gulf of Mexico: This year’s “dead zone,” where there’s too little oxygen to support marine life, is the biggest ever measured.
The low-oxygen, or hypoxic , zone covers 8,776 square miles (22,720 square kilometers) — about the size of New Jersey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday. The area is more than 3 percent larger than the 2002 dead zone, the previous record.
“We predicted it would be large, and it is large,” said scientist Nancy Rabalais, who has been measuring the dead zone since 1985.
She said the area was actually larger, but the July mapping cruise had to stop before reaching the western edge.