Here’s some news that might shake the world of environmentalists and policy makers. Although, the ‘Oxygen poor’ zone of Texas and Louisiana isn’t quite big this year. The zone still ranks as the third largest in the list.
So, what does an oxygen poor zone mean exactly?
According to a Wikipedia definition, the dead zone/oxygen minimum zone/shadow zone is basically a particular area of seawater where, the level of oxygen in the seawater is at it’s lowest. The bacteria in this zone, uses up all the oxygen making the oxygen level in the water low.
Crabs, eels and other creatures found in the Gulf of Mexico, is now swimming together in closely knit shoals. This is mainly due to the low oxygen level. Nancy Rabalais, the chief scientist of Northern Gulf hypoxia studies agrees with this notion:
We very often see swarms of crabs, mostly blue crabs and their close relatives, swimming at the surface when the oxygen is low.
This is basically the dead zone for creatures of the deep blue water. The funny thing is, I know death zone for humans is 26000 feet above sea level in the lofty mountains.
Underneath the glassy 7900 square mile area, there is almost no oxygen whatsoever. So eels are now a rare visitor in these parts. The lack of oxygen results in hypoxia, a condition that is also caused when the freshwater floats over the heavier salt water.
However, the good news is oxygen minimum zone is shrinking. It was larger in 2000 and 2001. During these couple of years, the zone stretched to about 8600 square mile area. Scientists predict more storms than usual have reduced the shadow zone this year.
Hopefully it will further go down in the coming years. Scientist want to see the oxygen deprived zone go down to 2500 square miles. I am sure this will eventually happen if proper steps are taken.