BP Oil Spill Causing More Gulf Dead Zones as Methane Levels Increase

bp oil spill protest photo

BP oil spill protest in New Orleans, photo: Infrogmation of New Orleans via flickr

It's only been a few days since NOAA-backed scientists forecasting the size of this year's Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone--that area of ocean so deprived of oxygen than little can live in it--mentioned that it wasn't clear yet what effect the BP oil spill would have on its size. The Guardian gives us a glimpse: Two separate scientists studying the issue have found the low-oxygen areas around the Gulf Gusher.Half as Much Methane Spewing Out as Oil
Samantha Joye, from the University of Georgia, says there's up to 50% as much methane and other gases being spewed from the wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon as there is oil. This methane is settling in a 200-meter layer in the water column at a depth of 1,000 to 1,300 meters.

Joye notes that the water in that area can go "completely anoxic" or have extremely low levels of oxygen; she hasn't yet "seen zero-oxygen water but there is certainly enough gas in the water to draw oxygen down to zero."

John Kessler, of Texas A&M; notes similar conditions: "Astonishingly high" methane levels in both surface and deep water within a five mile radius of the gusher. In some locations oxygen levels were depleted 30%.

Read more: The Guardian
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More on Ocean Dead Zones:
Above Average Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Forecast by NOAA Scientists
Ocean Dead Zones Increasing: 400 Oxygen-Deprived Areas Now Exist
Crop Biodiversity a Cure for Ocean Dead Zones?
Tropical Dead Zones Set to Expand by 50 Percent Under Climate Change

BP Oil Spill Causing More Gulf Dead Zones as Methane Levels Increase
It's only been a few days since NOAA-backed scientists forecasting the size of this year's Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone--that area of ocean so deprived of oxygen than little

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