Warming to worsen dead zones, algae blooms choking US waters


WASHINGTON — Projected increases in rain from global warming could further choke U.S. waterways with fertilizer runoff that trigger dead zones and massive algae blooms, a new study said.

If greenhouse gas emissions keep rising, more and heavier rain will increase nitrogen flowing into lakes, rivers and bays by about 19 percent by the end of the century, according to a study in Thursday's journal Science .

While that may not sound like much, many coastal areas are already heavily loaded with nitrogen. Researchers calculated that an extra 860,000 tons of nitrogen yearly will wash into American waterways by century's end.

The nutrients create low-oxygen dead zones and harmful blooms of algae in the Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest and Atlantic coast.

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