NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal scientists are forecasting an average “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, where every summer brings a large area of water with too little oxygen to keep marine animals alive.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says its analysis indicates that this summer’s low-oxygen area will cover about 4,880 square miles.
That’s close to the five-year average of 5,400 square miles.
The agency notes that a tropical storm or hurricane shortly before or during the measurement cruise would shrink it.
A tropical storm last year reduced the dead zone to slightly less than one-third the area forecast.