Wednesday, December 7, 2022

2022 Dead Zone Update

Overall, the total volume of the 2022 Dead Zone in the Chesapeake Bay was the second lowest since 1985. The “Dead Zone” of the Chesapeake Bay is the common name given to the  volume of hypoxic amount of water with dissolved oxygen concentrations less than 2 mg/L- too low for aquatic organisms such as fish and blue crabs to thrive.

Hypoxia in 2022 started relatively late in the season. Around the beginning of June, the Dead Zone started to spread through the mainstem of the Bay. Although the size of the Dead Zone increased from June through July, the volume of hypoxic water stayed relatively low compared to the historical volumes and the mid-summer peak for the Dead Zone was slightly less than the historical average. The Dead Zone quickly decreased following the mid-summer peak and was effectively ended by the passing of the remnants of Hurricane Ian around the beginning of October. Overall, 2022 was a relatively good (low amount) year for hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay.

In the end the duration of hypoxia in summer 2022 was short and the total annual amount of hypoxia was relatively low, This was a relatively good year for hypoxic conditions in the Bay. On years like this it feels as if the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint is making progress

Anchor QES and VIMS

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