NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Scientists say high rivers and high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from farm and urban runoff mean a larger than average oxygen-starved “dead zone” is likely this year off the Louisiana coast.
But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the prediction is nowhere near a record for the area in the Gulf of Mexico where there’s too little oxygen for marine life.
The area forms every summer off Louisiana and stretches into Texas waters.
NOAA says in a news release that this year’s low-oxygen area is expected to cover about 6,700 square miles. That’s about the size of the African nation of Eswatini.