Thursday, October 05, 2006

Oregon ocean dead zone cover-up

The ocean dead zone off Oregon is dissapating, and the cover-up is beginning.

Just because there was no oxygen and lots of dead animals, that doesn't mean there was a dead zone, according to some politicians. “I think it’s an unfortunate term. It’s misleading,” said Onno Husing, who notes that the Pacific Ocean off Oregon is flourishing as a whole, not dying.

Media interest in the scary phenomenon has apparently generated a backlash in coastal communities, who are worried about losing business. They're campaigning on the idea that the dead zone isn't really dead, isn't actually all that bad, and isn't even new.

Scientists note that the pool of low oxygen water is bigger than ever, oxygen levels are lower than ever, and it's closer to shore than ever. Blogfish brought you the news of unprecedented death of crabs and fish in shallow water areas close to shore.

It's fair to ask that news reports shouldn't be unduly alarming. But whatever you call it, this is worrisome and not a good time to bury our heads in the sand.


philippe said...

A story for your podcast.

Anonymous said...

It's silly to go into denial over this. Politicians can't hide it and they'll just look worse for trying.

Anonymous said...

just becase we do not have evidence of this happening before, it does not mean that it has not? what are your references in saying that this is definetely human caused?

Mark Powell said...

Hmm...rereading this I agree that I probably did overstate the evidence for human cause. What I saw was comments from scientists that it might be human-caused, and that shocked me. Here's one piece of info I relied on:

"Jane Lubchenco, a marine biologist at Oregon State University, said the phenomenon did not appear to be linked to recurring El Niño or La Niña currents or to long-term cycles of ocean movements. That made Dr. Lubchenco wonder if climate change might be a factor, she said, adding, “There is no other cause, as far as we can determine.”


Good point, this may or may not be human caused, we just don't know. Thanks for keeping me honest.