Huge areas of low oxygen found off both Washington and Oregon are literal dead zones. Researchers recently found massive white mats of bacteria had smothered al types of marine life. Crabs, rockfish, and various other types of marine life were all dead in these low oxygen areas, many refer to as dead zones.
Every summer since 2002 major areas of seabed off the northwest coast have experienced plunging levels of oxygen. But in the summer of 2007 researchers found that the dead zones had greatly expanded.
One researcher was simply astounded. She said, "We couldn't believe our eyes. It was so overwhelming and depressing. It appeared that everything that couldn't swim or scuttle away had died."
Several of the researchers involved in the study have concluded that the rapid growth of the dead zones seems to be caused by global warming. They released a study in the Journal of Science concluded the dead zones are forming with alarming regularity every summer since 2002 and there is a very real possibility that the ocean has reached a tipping point.
Many researchers believe that as the near shore lands warm-up, strong winds form that increase natural upwelling of nutrients. These results are massive plankton blooms which in turn soak up available oxygen when they die off.