Dec 07

Threat of ‘dead zone’ developing off Sonoma Coast

Climate change is the likely cause of unprecedented mass of oxygen-poor water off the Sonoma Coast, a phenomenon that could harm the region’s prized Dungeness crab and other marine life.

Scientists at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, who were the first to detect the hypoxic (low-oxygen) waters, aren’t calling it a “dead zone” yet, despite the similarity to a lethal condition along the Oregon coast for the past 12 years and forecasts that it will occur worldwide with global warming.

“There’s nothing dead,” said John Largier, an oceanographer at the UC Davis research facility on Bodega Head. But equipment on a bright yellow buoy anchored about a mile offshore has recorded dissolved oxygen levels low enough to cause “significant distress” for some marine organisms, he said.

Oxygen-poor water is common in deep water of the open ocean, but until this year had never been documented over the continental shelf close to the Sonoma coast, he said.

Global warming, right?

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And not one word about Fukushima….

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NBC Nightly News: “Another highly troubling report about what’s going on in the Pacific” — Millions of starfish ‘melt away’ from Alaska to California — Expert: Fukushima radiation ‘not ruled out’ as factor in epidemic — Very, very different than anything seen before

CBS News: 100s Of Whales In Bay On California Coast – Experts: ‘A Once-In-A-Lifetime Chance … Unheard Of, It’s Unbelievable’
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Jun 24

Update: Gulf Of Mexico Water Sample EXPLODES! Other Samples Prove To Be Toxic

CHICAGO (Reuters) – As much as 1 million times the normal level of methane gas has been found in some regions near the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, enough to potentially deplete oxygen and create a dead zone, U.S. scientists said on Tuesday.

Texas A&M University oceanography professor John Kessler, just back from a 10-day research expedition near the BP Plc oil spill in the gulf, says methane gas levels in some areas are “astonishingly high.”

Kessler’s crew took measurements of both surface and deep water within a 5-mile (8 kilometer) radius of BP’s broken wellhead.

“There is an incredible amount of methane in there,” Kessler told reporters in a telephone briefing.

In some areas, the crew of 12 scientists found concentrations that were 100,000 times higher than normal.

“We saw them approach a million times above background concentrations” in some areas, Kessler said.

The scientists were looking for signs that the methane gas had depleted levels of oxygen dissolved in the water needed to sustain marine life.

“At some locations, we saw depletions of up to 30 percent of oxygen based on its natural concentration in the waters. At other places, we saw no depletion of oxygen in the waters. We need to determine why that is,” he told the briefing. Continue reading »

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Aug 14

A global map of “dead zones”—where coastal waters contain too little oxygen to sustain life—shows (as black dots) a concentration in the Northern Hemisphere, where human activity has had the most effect.
As of August 2008, there were more than 400 known “dead zones,” scientists said, up from just over 300 in the 1990s. Image courtesy Science/AAAS

“Dead zones” are on the rise, says a new study that identified stark growth in the number of coastal areas where the water has too little oxygen to sustain marine life.

There are now more than 400 known dead zones in coastal waters worldwide, compared to 305 in the 1990s, according to study author Robert Diaz of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Related article: Are the oceans giving up?

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