Headlines this month bring grim news of a massive “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. Is this something Houston should be worried about?

Yes and no.

Most of those headlines refer to a recent study from Louisiana State University, which forecast a dead zone in the Gulf one-third larger than average this summer. That’s big. It forms from chemical runoff in the Mississippi River, and it kills a lot of marine life.

But that’s Louisiana. Texas is different. It has a different kind of dead zone, said Steve DiMarco, an oceanographer and veteran dead zone researcher with Texas A&M, and it’s also hitting record size this year after a rainy spring. When you put the two contiguous zones together, that’s a 600-mile swath of uninhabitable sea from Gulfport, Miss., to south of Corpus Christi.

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