This year’s so-called “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, an area where a lack of oxygen kills sea life that can’t swim away, is twice the size of last year’s, according to scientists, but it’s not a record.
The recurring area of low oxygen covers 5,840 square miles of the Gulf floor this year. Scientists had expected a record zone area due to a wet spring.
The zone is created each year when farm fertilizer from the Mississippi River Basin washes into the Gulf of Mexico, feeding algae blooms that, in turn, die and sink to the bottom of the mouth of the river. There they decompose and use up the oxygen.
Scientists from Louisiana State University and the University of Michigan had expected a wet spring to bring record levels of nutrients to the Gulf, leading to a dead zone that could have approached or exceeded the largest ever recorded — the one in Read more…
In this video shot near the site of the Deepwater Horizon accident, globs of oil are seen blooming on the Gulf surface in iridescent yellow circles. Chemical analysis of the Press-Register’s samples by LSU scientists found that the oil could be from the BP well, but results were not conclusive. BP meanwhile said no oil was present when the company flew over the area Saturday.
Record Midwest flooding to create largest ever ‘dead zone’ in Gulf of Mexico, more storms and levee releases on the way
The US Midwest continues to get slammed by heavy rains and winter snow melt that have swelled the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and left countless thousands of acres of the plains under water. Many towns and cities along the Missouri River in Nebraska, Iowa, and even up into the Dakotas and Montana, are now threatened by new flooding caused by levee breaches and more rains expected to hit in the coming days. Worse, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) supported scientists say the overall flooding could create the most severe dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that has ever occurred.
Epic flooding, repeated onslaughts of severe storms and extreme tornadoes have created one of the worst disaster situations ever experienced in the Midwest, and things are only expected to worsen. According to recent reports, six major water reservoirs along the Missouri River are severely swollen, and six dams between Fort Peck, Mont., and Gavins Point along the South Dakota and Nebraska border, have either already reached peak releases, or are expected to Read more…
Of those named storms, six to 10 should become hurricanes, including three to six “major” hurricanes, with wind speeds above 111 mph.
Tropical storms are given a name when wind speeds reach 39 mph. They are upgraded to hurricane status when their sustained winds reach 74 mph. An average Atlantic hurricane season sees 11 named storms, including six hurricanes; two become major hurricanes.
Forecasters do not predict the number of storms that will make landfall.
Climate factors in this outlook include unusually warm Atlantic Ocean water and temperatures two degrees above average, reports Gerry Bell, lead seasonal forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. Additionally, the impacts of the La Nina climate pattern, such as reduced wind shear, are expected to continue into the hurricane season.
“In addition to multiple climate factors, seasonal climate models also indicate an above-normal season is likely, and even suggest we could see activity comparable to some of the active seasons since 1995,” Bell said.
Since 1995, Bell says the Atlantic is in an era of increased hurricane activity. There are consistently favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions for storm formation.
Imagine this: you are standing outside in New York City while waiting for a cab. It is in the winter and you are likely freezing. What if you were doing the same thing, but in Porto, Portugal?
Porto shares the same latitude at the Big Apple, but in Portugal you would be about 10 degrees warmer.
This happens for the northeastern coast of the U.S. and eastern coast of Canada. This is also true in other parts of the world. When the northeastern coast of Asia is colder, the Pacific Northwest is warmer.
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have found an explanation. The culprit is warmer water off the eastern coasts of Read more…