In 2008, 415 dead zones were counted in the world’s waters, and scientists estimate that the number will double with every decade. The dead zones are caused by pollutants from fertilizers and fossil fuels that lead to an algae bloom. This leads to an ecological imbalance whereby the bacteria that breaks down the algae eat so much oxygen in the process that they starve the ocean.
Below is recent NASA footage showing the dead zone areas in red, with black dots indicated dead zones of unknown size.
It is impossible to determine exactly how many dead zones the oceans hold worldwide. With pollution continually growing, the number of dead zones will rise in the future. Dead zones are regions that are low in oxygen, and there are many areas that remain unexplored. Scientists can’t determine the oxygen content in every water column of the oceans. The Gulf of Mexico holds a large dead zone that many are worried the recent oil spill has enlarged considerably.
Between 2000-8 405 dead zones were reported around the world, particularly in areas that have been over-fished nutrient-rich run-offs from the land are being deposited (which is causing algae and then bacteria blooms).
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