Real-time Monitoring Pays Off for Tracking Nitrate Pulse in Mississippi River Basin to the Gulf of Mexico
Cutting edge optical sensor technology is being used in the Mississippi River basin to more accurately track the nitrate pulse from small streams, large tributaries and ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico.
Excessive springtime nitrate runoff from agricultural land and other sources in the Mississippi drainage eventually flows into the Mississippi River. Downstream, this excess nitrate contributes to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone, an area with low oxygen known commonly as the “dead zone.” NOAA-supported researchers reported that the summer 2013 dead zone covered about 5,840 square miles, an area the size of Connecticut. (more…)