Pollution based chemical imbalances in the Arabian Gulf Sea caused by rapid warming and excessive use of fertilizer in agriculture could be expanding the world’s largest marine dead zone towards the UAE’s seashores.
The research department at New York University and Abu Dhabi a team JV conducted a study about warming and that mapped the massive growth of the Arabian Sea’s dead zone.
An area of low oxygen in the Gulf Sea caused by excessive chemical pollution that strains the resources needed to sustain the marine life.
Dead zones in the sea, increasing in size and in number day-by-day because of rising water temperatures. The research department is increasingly finding more aquatic systems succumbing to this man-made warming phenomenal status with a 2018 study shows more than 450 dead zones are formed worldwide.
“Our study is the first to show that local temperature changes in a semi-enclosed sea, like the Arabian Gulf, can gain important consequences for oxygen and marine habitats not only locally but also for the ecosystems thousands of kilometers away,” said Zouhair Lachkar, a Sr. Scientist at NYUAD’s Center for Prototype Climate Modelling, who contributed to the warming study.
Dead zones are caused by a massive increase in nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus that are found in fertilizers, which leech into the water and prompt an algal bloom. As the algae decompose, the bacteria that feed on it consumes oxygen in the water, creating areas of low oxygen.
The bacterial process can be exacerbated by warming seas and, with the Arabian Gulf predicted to grow warmer in the future, the dead zone could intensify.
Mr. Lachkar, along with K. Shafer Smith, professor of atmosphere, and ocean science at NYUAD, and Marina Levy, used computer modeling and simulation to explore the dead zone.
Their results indicate that warming in the Gulf is resulting in depletion of oxygen and available nitrogen in the Arabian Gulf Sea.
This can reduce marine habitats for species that cannot survive without adequate oxygen and may restrict the growth of phytoplankton, a kind of bacteria that serves as food for some animals in the North Indian Ocean.
“Our findings imply that temperature changes can lead to biases in global climate models at a scale much larger than the scale of the semi-enclosed seas themselves,” he said.
Humans can slow or halt the process of the ocean’s deoxygenation and the spread of the dead zone by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Image credits: thenational.ae