Nitrate levels steadily increase in Eastern Asia

By on September 30, 2011

According to a 30-year study in Science, researchers discovered that nitrate levels in the waters off China, Japan and the Korean Peninsula are steadily increasing.

The rise in nitrogen pollution, a warning that could severely affect marine life, could lead to algal blooms and ‘dead zones’ with low oxygen levels. According to the press, researchers compared the nitrogen levels in the oceans to the amount of nitrogen deposited in the atmosphere, using measurements taken at four air-monitoring sites. Researchers have also discovered that some amount of the nitrogen reaches the sea from the air, and to some degree from rivers.

According to Scientific American, Kitack Lee of Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea, one of the authors of the study, was surprised to see that nitrogen levels were affected even in such large, deep bodies of water. Not singling out any particular country as the primary source of the nitrogen pollution, Kitack notes that the study areas are located downstream of China.

Read the complete story at Nature News.

Image credit: geograph

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