1. Post #1
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    12,751 Posts
    COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The worst drought to hit the United States in at least 50 years does have one benefit: it has created the smallest "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico in years, says a Texas A&M University researcher who has just returned from gulf waters.

    Oceanography professor Steve DiMarco, one of the world's leading authorities on the dead zone, says he and other Texas A&M researchers and graduate students analyzed the Gulf Aug. 15-21 and covered more than 1,200 miles of cruise track, from Texas to Louisiana. The team found no hypoxia off the Texas coast while only finding hypoxia near the Mississippi River delta on the Louisiana coast.

    "We had to really hunt to find any hypoxia at all and Texas had none," he explains.

    "The most severe hypoxia levels were found near Terrabonne Bay and Barataria Bay off the coast of southeast Louisiana.

    "In all, we found about 1,580 square miles of hypoxia compared to about 3,400 square miles in August 2011. What has happened is that the drought has caused very little fresh-water runoff and nutrient load into the Gulf, and that means a smaller region for marine life to be impacted."

    DiMarco has made 27 research trips to investigate the dead zone since 2003.

    DiMarco says the size of the dead zone off coastal Louisiana has been routinely monitored for about 25 years. Previous research has also shown that nitrogen levels in the Gulf related to human activities have tripled over the past 50 years. During the past five years, the dead zone has averaged about 5,700 square miles and has reached as high as 9,400 square miles.

    Hypoxia is when oxygen levels in seawater drop to dangerously low levels, defined as concentrations less than 2 milligrams per liter, and persistent hypoxia can potentially result in fish kills and harm marine life, thereby creating a "dead zone" of life in that particular area.[/b]

    The Mississippi is the largest river in the United States, draining 40 percent of the land area of the country. It also accounts for almost 90 percent of the freshwater runoff into the Gulf of Mexico.

    "These findings confirm what we found in a trip to the Gulf back in June, and also what other researchers in Louisiana have discovered, so there is general agreement that the dead zone this year is a very, very small one.

    "But the situation could certainly change by next spring," DiMarco adds.

    "The changes we see year to year are extreme. For example, last year, record flooding of the Mississippi River and westerly winds in the Gulf led to a much larger hypoxic area, particularly earlier in the summer. We'll just have to wait and see what kind of rainfall is in store for the Midwest over the next 8-10 months."
    http://www.underwatertimes.com/news....id=41015703826

    Drought sucks. Although I'm curious what the effects of less chemical runoff from farms off the Mississippi on the gulf of mexico. It's bad for the freshwater ecosystems but the gulf might appreciative the break from the annual onslaught of fertilizer and chemicals that make the BP oil spill look like nothing.

    Edited:

    I feel bad for all the farmers and other people whose livelyhoods are threatened from this.
    The Mississippi River is a toxic waste sewer for most of the farms in the US.(and everything else that dumps their shit into it) Oil is only a minor threat to the Gulf compared to the constant, intentional dump of chemicals the Gulf receives each year. Why don't we treat farms and fertilizer companies the way we treat oil companies? At least oil spills are an accident, which companies try to avoid because they don't want to lose their product. Fertilizer run-off is a by-product of using the fertilizer but no one bats an eye at it. Hell, people have been wanting to use Ethanol as a "greener" alternative to petroleum based fuel. Except that requires more corn farms which require more fertilizer which makes the gigantic desert in the ocean bigger. All in the name of using oil less right? The annual dead zone is practically the size of the BP oil spill that was such a disaster. Except you know, it's always there, and get's rebuilt each year.

    Fertilizer kills the ocean. The corn lobby is just as much of an enemy of the sea, if not moreso, as the oil lobby. But no one knows about it.
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  2. Post #2
    Corn lobby cares not about the sea lobby. Corn lobby is in the middle of land lobby. Lobby lobby lobby.
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  3. Post #3

    November 2010
    510 Posts
    Cleaning up fertilizer after you use it is nearly impossible. To do it properly would be such a gigantic expense. You'd have to do something similar to what landfills do and put a plastic barrier underneath the entire farm.
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  4. Post #4
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
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    March 2007
    12,751 Posts
    If you got Google earth you can go on the ocean layers and see all the coastal deadzones.

    Hint: It's pretty much all over.
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  5. Post #5
    Hidole555's Avatar
    July 2009
    4,480 Posts
    Personally I'd prefer electric cars over ethanol cars.

  6. Post #6
    Personally I'd prefer electric cars over ethanol cars.
    Biofuel is a dumb, expensive waste of resources.

    Edited:

    Bring in hard-to-contain dangerous flammable hydrogen!

  7. Post #7
    Gold Member
    danharibo's Avatar
    July 2006
    4,432 Posts
    Biofuel is a dumb, expensive waste of resources.

    Edited:

    Bring in hard-to-contain dangerous flammable hydrogen!
    Warranty does not cover being late for work because your car exploded
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  8. Post #8
    Gold Member
    dije's Avatar
    December 2008
    4,739 Posts
    Ohgod Sweden / Denmark

  9. Post #9
    I SHOULDN'T OWN A FIREARM
    GunFox's Avatar
    May 2005
    7,398 Posts
    Cleaning up fertilizer after you use it is nearly impossible. To do it properly would be such a gigantic expense. You'd have to do something similar to what landfills do and put a plastic barrier underneath the entire farm.
    Or we can stop subsidizing corn ridiculous amounts and instead subsidize proper crop rotation using crop choices which supplement each other.

    Y'know, that thing we figured out over a thousand years ago.

    Less fertilizer needed, less fuel spent moving fertilizer, less damage to the environment.
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  10. Post #10
    Gold Member
    Sgt Doom's Avatar
    March 2005
    19,840 Posts
    Corn lobby cares not about the sea lobby. Corn lobby is in the middle of land lobby. Lobby lobby lobby.
    Someone needs to make a film about lobbies going to war against each other.

  11. Post #11
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    12,751 Posts
    The hurricanes storm surge is making the Mississippi temporarily flow backwards. TAKE BACK YOUR DAMN HYPOXIA YE BASTARD WE DON'T WANT IT!

    Until all the rain causes the Mississippi to dump even more crap.

  12. Post #12
    I'M A SHAAARK!
    Lambeth's Avatar
    October 2009
    14,832 Posts
    Or we can stop subsidizing corn ridiculous amounts and instead subsidize proper crop rotation using crop choices which supplement each other.

    Y'know, that thing we figured out over a thousand years ago.

    Less fertilizer needed, less fuel spent moving fertilizer, less damage to the environment.
    Oil companies need their money don't you understand

  13. Post #13
    Someone needs to make a film about lobbies going to war against each other.
    The anti-lobby lobby would not be happy about that.

  14. Post #14
    Voted WORST Gold Member 2012
    Killuah's Avatar
    August 2005
    15,127 Posts
    Cleaning up fertilizer after you use it is nearly impossible. To do it properly would be such a gigantic expense. You'd have to do something similar to what landfills do and put a plastic barrier underneath the entire farm.
    Going back to less intesive methods and developing more accurate methods would do the trick.

    Also there is no sense in the US (and most other developed nations)producing so much corn anyway, it is HEAVILY subsidized and protected by taxes, all the while really fucking expensive and fertilizer-intesive.

    Edited:

    Biofuel is a dumb, expensive waste of resources.

    Edited:

    Bring in hard-to-contain dangerous flammable hydrogen!
    It would not be if we could use waste to produce it.

    Bio-Gas for example. Or human sewage. It just would need some massive investment in a system for it to develop, the TECHNOLOGY IS THERE!

    Edited:

    http://www.edie.net/news/news_story....reatment+plant

  15. Post #15
    Black's Avatar
    December 2009
    2,944 Posts
    Ohgod Sweden / Denmark
    What about Norway :(
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  16. Post #16
    Gold Member
    kaskade700's Avatar
    January 2008
    6,088 Posts
    Rock on scandinavia

    Spray that fertilizer

  17. Post #17
    NorthernFall's Avatar
    June 2009
    1,823 Posts
    Rock on scandinavia

    Spray that fertilizer
    It's more likely the UK's fault, Sweden has made a massive amount of complaints about our pollution being swept over to the Baltic/ North sea due to air and sea currents .

  18. Post #18
    Gold Member
    assassin_Raptor's Avatar
    February 2010
    2,678 Posts
    Personally I'd prefer electric cars over ethanol cars.
    Yea, ethanol is shit anyway. It currently requires more energy to make ethanol than it can output, and destroys your engine and gas tank.

  19. Post #19
    What's brevity?
    ironman17's Avatar
    June 2006
    18,647 Posts
    Biofuel is a dumb, expensive waste of resources.

    Edited:

    Bring in hard-to-contain dangerous flammable hydrogen!
    If we develop reliable hydrogen fuel-cells, that'd be a step towards solving the conundrum of reliable containment of hydrogen in enough amounts to have a decent miles-per-gallon.

  20. Post #20
    Gold Member
    FPSMango's Avatar
    August 2010
    2,044 Posts
    Ohgod Sweden / Denmark
    There's extremely little farming in Norway. It's just literally just mountains and forests. Pretty sure the same goes for Sweden. Denmark however. Holy shit, If you'd ever been there you would know the whole damn country is a giant farm plot.

  21. Post #21
    Gold Member
    Furioso's Avatar
    October 2006
    4,412 Posts
    If we develop reliable hydrogen fuel-cells, that'd be a step towards solving the conundrum of reliable containment of hydrogen in enough amounts to have a decent miles-per-gallon.
    but hydrogen bombs on wheels