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Firstly, Achieving water quality goals for the Northern Gulf of Mexico may take decades. That’s according to findings by researchers at the University of Waterloo.
Furthermore, sediment-laden water pours into the northern Gulf of Mexico from the Atchafalaya River. Hence in this photo-like image. It Is taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Aqua satellite.
“Despite the investment of large amounts of money in recent years to improve water quality, the area of last year’s dead zone was more than 22,000 km2—about the size of the state of New Jersey,” said Kimberly Van Meter, lead author of the paper and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Waterloo.
In addition, we are using more than two centuries of agricultural data. Also, scientists show that nitrogen has accumulated in soils and groundwater over years of intensive agricultural production. It will continue to make its way to the coast for decades.
Water quality has become increasingly impaired in the northern Gulf of Mexico since the 1950s, largely due to both intensive livestock production and the widespread use commercial fertilizers across the Mississippi River Basin. Manure and fertilizer are rich in nitrogen, a nutrient that boosts crop production, but when present in excess can pose a threat to both human health and to aquatic ecosystems.
Modelling results from the current work show that even under best-case scenarios, where effective conservation measures are immediately implemented, it will take on the order of 30 years to deplete the accumulated excess nitrogen now stored within the agricultural landscape.
This is not just a problem in the Mississippi River Basin. That’s from Basu. Basu is an associate professor cross-appointed between the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth and Environmental Sciences. “As the need for intensive agricultural production continues to grow, nitrogen legacies are also increasing, creating a long-term problem for coastal habitats around the world.”
In conclusion, the research team includes Prof. Philippe Van Cappellen. He has a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ecohydrology. He is also a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Finally, the group is currently extending their analysis to phosphorus, a major driver of algal blooms in the Great Lakes and other inland waters.
Source: University of Waterloo, FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2018
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