From: Carnegie Institution for Science
Published July 27, 2017 04:40 PM

Projected Precipitation Increases Are Bad News for Water Quality

If climate change is not curbed, increased precipitation could substantially overload U.S. waterways with excess nitrogen, according to a new study from Carnegie’s Eva Sinha and Anna Michalak and Princeton University’s Venkatramani Balaji published by Science. Excess nutrient pollution increases the likelihood of events that severely impair water quality. The study found that impacts will be especially strong in the Midwest and Northeast.

Rainfall and other precipitation washes nutrients from human activities like agriculture and fossil fuel combustion into rivers and lakes. When these waterways get overloaded with nutrients, a phenomenon called “eutrophication,” the results can be dangerous.

Harmful, toxin-producing algal blooms can develop, as well as dangerous low-oxygen dead zones called hypoxia. Over the past several years, dead zones and algal blooms in coastal regions across the United States—including the Gulf of Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay, and around Florida—have received extensive news coverage.

Continue reading at Carnegie Institution for Science

Image: Phytoplankton bloom off the Atlantic coast that occurred in August 2015. 

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

2017©. Copyright Environmental News Network