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Warming to worsen dead zones, algae blooms choking US waters

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

Researchers calculate that if greenhouse gas emissions keep rising, more rain will increase nitrogen flowing into lakes, rivers, bays and coastal areas by about 19 per cent by the end of the century. That’s an extra 860,000 tons of nitrogen yearly washing into American waterways.

Study co-author Anna Michalak of the Carnegie Institution for Science says when excess nitrogen hits waterways it can worsen dead zones and algae blooms that already taint parts of the Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic coast.

The study is in Thursday’s journal Science.

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