Friday, February 15, 2008

More on Less Dissolved Oxygen

Scientists fear 'tipping point' in Pacific Ocean
Coast has seen deadly drop-off in oxygen levels for sea life

Where scientists previously found a sea bottom abounding with life, two years ago they discovered the rotting carcasses of crabs, starfish and sea worms, swooshing from side to side in the current. Most fish had fled -- and those that didn't or couldn't joined the deathfest on the sea floor.

Extraordinarily low oxygen levels were to blame -- swept up from the deep ocean into normally productive waters just off the Pacific Northwest coast by uncharacteristically strong winds.

On Thursday scientists announced they had documented that low oxygen levels that killed the sea life in 2006 were the lowest in a half-century -- and that for the first time, parts of the ocean off our coast were measured with zero oxygen in the water; 2007 looked only a bit better.

Strong winds and low oxygen levels have persisted for eight summers now, leading scientists to conclude that the ocean may be "poised for significant reorganization"-- their way of saying an ecosystem gone awry...

Read the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article

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