Ocean Dead Zones Expanding

Climate-related trend mirrors causes of past massive extinction
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2008 9:28 AM CDT
The increasingly inhospitable waters are driving fish away from commercial fisheries where dead zones are spreading off the coasts of California and Peru.   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – The inhospitable oxygen-starved layers of the oceans, once relegated to the deep sea, are now encroaching on coastlines, reports the Los Angeles Times. The dead zones, linked to global warming, have moved up into continental shelves, a study in Science says. They interfere with commercial fishing and entice predators that thrive in such conditions such as the jumbo squid.

"If you warm waters, they hold much less oxygen. That's the same as a bottle of soda water. If you open it warm, it'll fizz all over the place," explained one of the study's authors. When that warming water is the ocean, it can also create lighter upper layers that could interfere with global circulation, a potential doomsday scenario.