Climate Change and Dependence on Fertilizers are Creating Dead Zones in Bays and Oceans

Heavier rains are causing greater urban and agricultural runoff, filling rivers, lakes and oceans with choking algae and, ultimately, creating more dead zones globally.  Science published an article on July 22, 2017 saying this will increase because of “warmer temperatures”.  These changes in rainfall, according to the scientist, could “boost nitrogen run off by as much as 20 percent by the end of the century”.  These dead zones are areas where, due to depleted oxygen, marine life is suffocated. The impact in the Gulf of Mexico is particularly notable.  A dead zone off the coast of Texas and Louisiana is the size of New Jersey.  Since record keeping began in 1985, the years 200, 2015 and 2017 have registered levels significant magnitudes above previous years. Similar dead zones exist in large areas of East, South and Southeast Asia.  This is particularly worrisome because those regions are home to more than half the world’s population, where many depend on marine life for survival.

Schlossberg, Tatiana, Study Shows Rising Risk to Waterways from Fertilizers, New York Times, July 28, 2017