Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New NOAA chief brings attention to "dead zones"

The "dead zone" off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, where there is too little oxygen in the water for anything to live, is getting new federal attention under President Barack Obama's administration.

Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has scheduled a teleconference Monday with Nancy Rabalais, who has been studying the problem, called hypoxia, since 1970 and is currently measuring this year's hypoxic area.

"We've got a new administration, a little more environmentally conscious," NOAA spokesman Ben Sherman said Wednesday. "Dr. Lubchenco is a research scientist who has studied the dead zone. She believes it's a national issue, not just a Gulf of Mexico issue."

Lubchenco, Rabalais and other officials and scientists planned to announce the zone's current size and talk about its implications and plans to reduce it.

"We want to raise some of the issues behind it and some of the debate about the changes needed to shrink it," Sherman said.

R. Eugene Turner, the Louisiana State University scientist who first linked the dead zone to nutrient runoff from the vast Mississippi River basin, said, "It's the first time anybody in NOAA has done this. I think they're raising the visibility a little bit."

In 2008, 415 coastal areas worldwide _ 131 of them in North America or the Caribbean _ either had documented dead zones or such high nutrient levels that hypoxia was likely, according to the World Resources Institute and Robert Diaz of Virginia Marine Institute.

The complete article is here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Celebrating 40 years - Apollo 11

Check this out:

Here's more on the Apollo 11 mission:

The astronauts that landed on the moon want astronauts to fly to Mars: