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(Mother Jones)   Why this year's Gulf dead zone is twice as big as last year's   (motherjones.com) divider line 8
    More: Interesting, gulf, Gulf dead zone, Mississippi Delta, water body, severe storm, U.S. Geological Survey  
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8042 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Aug 2013 at 8:11 AM (47 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-15 11:25:59 AM
2 votes:

J. Frank Parnell: ikanreed: Also, christ, phytoplankton that produce O2 are mostly found in the first 10 meters of water. Basic biology too, duder.

Explain to me why an oil spill isn't also a threat to phytoplankton.


Phyto-plankton (phyto means plant) are photo-synthesizers and thus inhabit the upper layers of the water column. That's the key take-away point in answer to your question.

The oil and natural gas that leaked from BP's blowouts (and which leaks to some extent from all oil operations) tends to disperse through a sort of very slow cracking and through mixture with water. It may be toxic to some phyto-plankton, but there is so much plankton in the water where ever there are nutrients for plants, that it can't do much damage, at least once it is dispersed. The algae and other plant or plant-like plankton springs back fast. Most of the gunk that doesn't get dispersed over large areas and volumnes (which by now includes much of the Gulf Stream and the Atlantic Ocean, I imagine) sinks or washes up on beach as tar balls. It is concentrated and doesn't affect the upper water column much. Thus the phyto-plankton does not get seriously hurt by an oil spill. It can spring back as soon as the petroleum is "gone".

The dead zone is produced by a different type of mechanism. Rather than crude petroleum or natural gas, the problem is fertilizer. Plants love the stuff. Too much will burn them but as long as they can absorb it, it makes them grow. And grow, and grow, and grow. The dead zone is deprived of oxygen by plant growth, mainly green algae. If you have seen a badly cleaned aquarium, you know too much fertilizer (fish food, fish poo) will turn lovely clear water into bright green goo (algae) which takes up the oxygen and kills everything that breathes (or sends them to the surface to gasp for air).

The dead zone is a giant over-fed fish tank. Too much of a good thing means death.

Each year as the farmers fertilizer their fields, the excess fertilizer washes down the Mississippi drainage basin (over 7,000 rivers, as shown in a graphic posted within the last few days on Fark). Ever year, a giant dead zone forms at the mouth of each of the world's great agricultural-industrial basin outlets--the Mississippi, the Rhine, the Bramaputra, the Ganges, etc.

These dead zones are the result of too much of a good thing just as much as the current Carbon cycle problem (aka climate change or global warming). There is a Nitrogen cycle problem and it produces not only a sizeable chunk of global warming gas but the dead zones.

The same thing happens in many lakes and streams throughout North America and the world.

Green algae is toxic and when you swim in it, you get nasty dermatological side effects. Some kinds of algal bloom (such as the infamous red tide) are toxic enough to kill fish and even humans without depriving them of oxygen.
2013-08-15 11:14:50 AM
2 votes:
Too many people pissing in the pool.
2013-08-15 10:07:54 AM
1 votes:

J. Frank Parnell: ikanreed: No, this is scientifically accurate. The BP spill caused some wildlife harm, but it tended to mostly be the much hire organisms on the food chain like birds.

Those are just the only ones visible to us which they couldn't deny. The oil didn't just disappear because they sunk it. It's still down there, on the bottom. How do you think all the microorganisms and plants on the bottom are doing? You know, the ones which put oxygen into the water and stop places from becoming dead zones.


Do yourself a favor and RTFA and you won't sound ignorant. This was going on long before the BP spill. And it's also happening in the Chesepeake and Lake Erie.
2013-08-15 09:55:52 AM
1 votes:
Replace that toxic corn culture with say, hemp, and watch what happens.
Two ironic thoughts.
Indians gave us corn and casinos.
2013-08-15 09:46:32 AM
1 votes:
TL;DR:

Because last year's was abnormally low, that's why.
2013-08-15 09:30:06 AM
1 votes:
This must be a plot by the vast right-wing conspiracy (who controls the MSM)

The messiah promised us change.
www.upl.co
I guess feeling up children in airports and snooping on everyone's phones and internet traffic became a higher priority. Because... terrorism.
2013-08-15 08:35:01 AM
1 votes:

ikanreed: J. Frank Parnell: ikanreed: No, this is scientifically accurate. The BP spill caused some wildlife harm, but it tended to mostly be the much hire organisms on the food chain like birds.

Those are just the only ones visible to us which they couldn't deny. The oil didn't just disappear because they sunk it. It's still down there, on the bottom. How do you think all the microorganisms and plants on the bottom are doing? You know, the ones which put oxygen into the water and stop places from becoming dead zones.

Oils don't sink.  Come on, basic chemistry here.


Ahem:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/about/media/submerged-oil-pollu ti on-western-gulf-mexico-restoration-coming-after-2005-dbl-152-oil-sp

That said, ya, BP is probably not responsible for the dead zone, or at least not all of it; that's been around for years before their latest blow-out, iirc.
2013-08-15 08:24:28 AM
1 votes:
Lana.

Lana.

Lana.

Laaaanaaaaaa.

What?!

Dead zone.
 
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