EXPANDING 'dead zone' in Arabian Sea raises extreme climate change fears : In the waters of the Arabia Sea, a vast 'dead zone' the size of Scotland is expanding and scientists say climate change may be to blame.

In his lab in Abu Dhabi, Zouhar Lachkar is labouring over a colourful computer model of the Gulf of Oman, showing changing temperatures, sea levels and oxygen concentrations.

His model and new research unveiled earlier this year show a worrying trend.

Dead Zones are areas of the sea where the lack of oxygen makes it difficult for the fish to survive and the one in the Arabian Sea "is the most intense in the world," says Lachlar, a senior scientist at NYU  Abu Dhabi in the capital of United Arab Emirates.

" It starts at about 100 metres and goes down to 1,500  metres, so almost the whole water column is completely depleted of oxygen," he told AFP.

Dead Zones are naturally occurring phenomena around the world, but this one appears to have mushroomed  since it was first surveyed in the 1990s.

Lachkar and other researchers  are worried that the  global warming  is causing the zone to expand, raising concerns  for local ecosystems and industries including  fishing and tourism.


The discovery was made possible by the use of   robotic divers, or   " sea gliders " deployed in areas researchers could not access - an undertaking by  Britain's University in East Anglia in collaboration with  Oman's  Sultan  Qaboos University.

The findings of the   2015  to  2016  study  were released  in April and showed  the  Arabian Sea dead  zone had worsened  in size and scope.

And unlike  the  1996 measurements,  when the lowest levels  were limited to the heart of  dead zone,    -midway between    Yemen and India   -now the  dead zone extends across the sea.

"Now everywhere  is the minimum,   and it can't go much lower, " the lead researcher  Bastien Queste  told  AFP. [Agencies].


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