Pacific Spirit Marine Institute
Thursday, July 17, 2008
NOAA predicted the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will grow to be 8,800 square miles this summer. Forecasters think this summers dead zone will be the largest since 1985.
Nutrients from the fields of the Midwest flow into the Mississippi River which then flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The nutrients are what contribute to hypoxia which is low-oxygen content.
Dead zones are triggered by more than agricultural run-off. Sewage, combustion emissions as well as fertilizers contribute to feeding phyto plankton. River flooding is one natural way dead zones can also be produced.
This year the flooding fields along the Mississippi river are going to contribute to this summer’s anticipated increased dead zone in the Gulf. Sediment records match up with historic flooding.
Slapping myself in the forehead…
“Record corn harvests throughout the Midwest are clearly adding to the problem”, says Eugene Turner. Turner is a scientist with LSU. Turner says there’s “an awful lot of corn and soybeans,” being planted.
Corn and soybeans are both being used in the production of biofuels. Soybean biodiesel has been shown to produce 41% less greenhouse gases. Studies have sown that soybean biodiesel, while having less of an impact on the environment also nets a much higher energy benefit than corn grain ethanol. Soybean biodiesel returns 93% more energy than is used to produce it. Corn; not so much. Corn grain ethanol provides only 25% more energy than is used in its production.
So where does this leave the dead zones?
If farmers stopped planting corn and soybeans yesterday it would take years for to inure any benefits as it relates to the Gulf. Nitrogen leaches from the soil for many years.
soybeans require much less nitrogen fertilizer than does corn.
Global warming may increase the cases of Kidney Stones! Kidney stone formation increases in warm climates. Sweating removes fluid, which increases salt levels in the urine (which goes to the sewer which may flow into the ocean, adding to the problem of dead zones).
It’s almost like playing 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Everything is related.
And, much to my surprise there is a “kidney stone Belt” in America. Roughly the same area is also the “stroke belt” of the United States. One more piece of, that renewable resource, irony these areas also mess into the “bible belt” America…
Holding what may be a world record for kidney stone production could be one man from Ontario, Canada. The kidney stones this organ passed ranged in size from a grain of sand to a dried pea! The kidney had to be removed but at its peak production it was producing 22 stones in 24 hours.
Photo thanks: KMOX St. Louis
Guinness Medical Record Breakers
Labels: Corn, Flood, Global Warming, Kidney Stones, Mid-west, NOAA, SoyBean, biofuels, fertilizer, ocean dead zone
© 2009, Pacific Spirit Marine Institute.
Drought and flooding. Corn, kidney stones and 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.