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Posted Sat Feb 27 2010: from Science, via DesdemonaDespair:
Pacific Northwest 'dead zone' hypoxic events unprecedented
A review of all available ocean data records concludes that the low-oxygen events which have plagued the Pacific Northwest coast since 2002 are unprecedented in the five decades prior to that, and may well be linked to the stronger, persistent winds that are expected to occur with global warming. In a new study to be published Friday in the journal Science, researchers from Oregon State University outline a "potential for rapid reorganization" in basic marine ecosystems and the climatic forces that drive them, and suggest that these low-oxygen, or "hypoxic" events are now more likely to be the rule rather than the exception. "In this part of the marine environment, we may have crossed a tipping point," said Jane Lubchenco... The rapid and disturbing shift of ocean conditions in what has traditionally been one of the world's more productive marine areas -- what's called the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem -- has garnered much attention in recent years, also raising questions about whether it has happened before, and what is causing it.... "At this point, Iíd be surprised if this trend towards hypoxic events didnít continue," Barth said...
[Read more stories about: toxic water, ocean warming, dead zones]

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'Doc Jim says:
Maybe the fish are just hyperventilating and using up the oxygen.

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