Dead Zone Size Predicted to be Between 22,253 and 26,515 Square Kilometers

21 June 2011

The record-breaking flood of 2011 will likely cause another record-breaking event: the largest Dead Zone ever recorded.  Dr. Nancy Rabalais, along with collegues that include her husband, LSU’s Dr. Gene Turner, predict that the increased influx of nutrients carried by the Mississippi River flood waters will cause the zone of hypoxia (low-to-no oxygen), aptly nicknamed the "Dead Zone", to become largest it has ever been.  The largest Dead Zone ever recorded was in 2002, at about 8,400 square miles.  Rabalais estimates the area to be between 100 and 1,000 square miles larger this summer.

Rabalais makes this prediction with a few cafeats, as factors such as strong weather events and river flow volume impact disolved oxygen levels in the water.

Rabalais’ annual Dead Zone mapping cruise begins July 25, where the researchers will spend two weeks aboard the R/V Pelican visiting 80 (?) stations along the Louisiana and Texas coasts to determine the size of the area of low oxygen.

To read the full report, click here:

To learn more about Gulf Hypoxia, visit