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NOAA Flood Forecast Includes Dead Zone Impacts for First Time

Published on: 03/16/2012

In a first-ever collaboration, findings from NCCOS's long-term research into the causes and consequences of the Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" were included in the National Weather Service annual spring flood outlook.

This research has shown that variations in river discharge and nutrients from the Mississippi River watershed, which drains over 40 percent of the U.S., can have a dramatic impact on the size, strength and location of the annual dead zone which forms in the Gulf of Mexico each year.

The Upper Mississippi and Ohio River watersheds supply the majority of the nutrients to the Gulf, so examining spring flood risk and associated discharges in these basins, as well as for the entire Mississippi River basin, can be a useful predictor of the size of the summer dead zone.

This represents another important milestone in NCCOS's and NOS's growing collaboration with the National Weather Service on ecological forecasting and hypoxia.

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