Is The Gulf’s Dead Zone Shrinking? Not Really.By Bradford Plumer
Monday, July 27, 2009 4:42 PM , The New Republic
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just unveiled <http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/
The good news is that the 2009 dead zone is a fair size smaller than the record 8,481-square-mile version in 2002. This year’s incarnation was originally predicted to break records, but, according to Nancy Rabalais of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, freak weather patterns may have helped re-oxygenate the waters. (Curiously, other dead zones, such as the one that suddenly showed up off the Oregon coast six years ago, seem to be triggered <http://community.
The not-so-good news is that the weird weather that kept the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone (relatively) contained aren’t expected to repeat every year, and the underlying runoff problem hasn’t gone away. It may even get worse: As Fred Below, a professor of crop physiology at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign explains <http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.