Midwest floods expand coastal deadzones

I guess this could be called a positive feedback loop…

Floodwaters loaded with farm runoff are heading down the Mississippi River, and scientists fear the deluge will dramatically increase this summer’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, covering an area the size of Maryland. …

Oxygen in the dead zone is depleted by excess nutrients, mostly nitrates from farm fertilizer runoff, that cause algae blooms. After the algae dies, bacteria on the bottom feast on the remains, removing crucial oxygen from the water.

The dead zone in the gulf forms in early summer and lasts through early fall.

This year’s massive floods will bring a heavier load of fertilizer into the gulf, DiMarco said.

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