Tuesday, January 18

They identify the dead zones of the ocean where there is no life | Digital Trends Spanish


The oceans are places full of life. Even at great depths there are abyssal beings and other creatures that, despite the absence of light, live without problem. However, there are certain points in the oceans where life cannot establish itself: the oxygen-deficient zones or ODZ, for its acronym in English.

Despite constituting less than 1 percent of the ocean’s total volume, these areas are a major source of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

Now MIT scientists have generated a detailed three-dimensional atlas of the world’s largest ODZs. This atlas, published in the Global Biogeochemical Cycles provides high-resolution maps of the two major oxygen-deprived water cores in the tropical Pacific.

The maps reveal the volume, the extent and the different depths of each ODZ and to carry it out they used a new method with which they were able to process more than 40 years of ocean data with a total of 15 million measurements taken by ships and autonomous robots deployed in the tropical Pacific.

The first zone runs from the coast of South America and measures about 600,000 cubic kilometers (roughly the volume of water that would fill 240,000 million Olympic swimming pools). The second zone is located off the coast of Central America and is approximately three times larger than the previous one.

These dead zones arise naturally as marine microbes eat up the sinking phytoplankton along with all available oxygen. Although these observations of the oxygen-deficient areas of the tropical Pacific are the most detailed to date, the researchers hope to continue to expand the information in the coming years.

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