NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Watch

Author(s): Beard, R.

The Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Watch is a cooperative project of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Southeast Fisheries Science Center (Pascagoula and Stennis Mississippi Labs), and NOAA’s National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC). The purpose of the project is to collect measurements of bottom-dissolved oxygen using a Conductivity, Temperature, Depth (CTD) profiler with an oxygen sensor. The NOAA ship Oregon II goes to sea in June and July for the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) groundfish survey and collects the CTD measurements along with SEAMAP biological data. The CTD casts are done in a random pattern along the continental shelf, from the Texas/Mexico border to southern Florida, in water depths between 10 m and 200 m. After data processing, the bottom (deepest) oxygen values are sent via email to NCDDC where they are contoured and mapped. The contours show estimations of where high and low oxygen levels are likely occurring. The dissolved oxygen values range from 0 to 8 mg/L and the water is considered hypoxic if the value is 2 mg/L or less. During the cruise, values are often mapped daily, providing a near-real-time picture of the health of the Gulf. Currently, the Hypoxia Watch project includes data from 2001 through 2014. To access the data, view maps, or consult metadata for the project, please see http://www.ncddc.noaa.gov/hypoxia/.
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