The Mar Menor is facing another environmental outbreak, or, in other words, relapse. The Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), dependent on the Ministry of Science and Innovation, produced a report at the request of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Affairs (Miteco) following the episode of heavy rains last March. . The findings pointed to the danger new episode of oxygen depletion (anoxia) and mass death of organisms in the Mar Menor.
As Miteco sources say in a statement, the paper focuses on the defining role of nutrient and organic contributions as an engine eutrophication of the lagoon.
The authors note that any analysis of the state of the lagoon must be linked to the process of eutrophication to which it has been subjected in recent decades due to a huge contribution of nutrients from human activities based on intensive agriculture and mass tourism.
These substances are mainly nitrogen and phosphorusenter the lagoon through surface runoff on boulevards, through groundwater, or when water and materials are pulled from a pool during heavy rains such as those experienced in recent months, to name but a few.
Last March was the rainiest in the Murcia region in 62 years. and this also coincided with two particularly intense fog episodes.
Are climatic anomalies associated with a state of increased concentration of nutrients already existing in the salt lagoon, they form the perfect cocktail for the rapid growth of species such as macroalgae and are a prime example of the eutrophication process that has been observed in the area for decades.
On the other hand, the report warns that heavy rains have also caused a sharp drop in water salinity, which is of great importance for the Mar Menor.
Following rainfall and rising water tables, the lagoon continues to receive nutrient-rich freshwater supplies that will interfere with seasonal salinity dynamics in the lagoon system.
On the other hand, IEO experts found a noticeable increase in the turbidity of the water column as of February 2022.
This new episode mainly responds to the input of materials during the rains, but it may continue in the coming weeks or even months due to the development of phytoplankton communities.
In fact, the latest available data show dramatic increase in chlorophyll which, although lower than recorded in cases of explosive development of phytoplankton, is likely to continue to increase due to the increase in temperature and duration of sunshine characteristic of spring.
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