It ain't natural, say scientists studying Oregon's ocean dead zones. Climate change seems to be causing the ugly die-off of ocean animals.
It's a scary story, stronger winds push this natural ocean breadbasket over the edge into a low oxygen killing field. This type of unpredictable change has ocean scientists chewing their fingernails and losing sleep at night.
The Oregon coast is a place of bountiful food production, a natural gift to salmon, orcas, and people. Upwelling of nutrients (fertilizer) is triggered by routine strong winds in the spring. The bloom of small plankton that follows creates a feeding frenzy of ocean animals and people alike.
But now climate change seems to have strengthened the winds and spoiled the party. It's too much of a good thing, something most of us can relate to every year the morning of January 1st.
We've heard for years that climate change is likely to have surprising effects, and now the Oregon dead zone is emerging as perhaps an early example. Yikes.