Saeed al-Sahaf writes: Researchers from the University of Michigan predict that the largest Gulf of Mexico 'dead zone' on record will result from the flooding, forecast to be between 8,500 and 9,421 square miles. The oxygen-starved Gulf dead zone is largely caused by farmland runoff containing fertilizers and livestock waste from as far away as the Corn Belt. In May 2011, 164,000 metric tons of nitrogen were transported to the northern Gulf, according to the U.S. Geological Survey — a 35% climb from average May nitrogen estimates in the last 32 years.
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