Photos of the Long Island Sound

Research & Monitoring

Status & Trends

LISS Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators

Duration of Hypoxia

* Click labels in legend to hide data and adjust scale
Duration of Hypoxic Conditions
  Start Date Duration End Date 5-Year Moving Avg.
1987   58    
1988   73    
1989   82    
1990   49    
1991 7/19 41 8/28 61
1992 7/7 55 8/30 60
1993 7/9 64 9/10 58
1994 7/1 68 9/6 55
1995 7/12 35 8/15 53
1996 8/10 34 9/12 51
1997 7/27 48 9/12 50
1998 7/5 73 9/15 52
1999 7/2 51 8/21 48
2000 7/2 35 8/6 48
2001 7/10 66 9/14 55
2002 6/25 65 8/28 58
2003 7/5 61 9/3 56
2004 7/20 55 9/12 56
2005 7/14 69 9/20 63
2006 7/6 53 8/27 61
2007 7/16 58 9/11 59
2008 7/3 79 9/19 63
2009 7/19 45 9/1 61
2010 7/5 40 8/13 55
2011 7/6 54 8/28 55
2012 7/10 63 9/10 56
2013 7/8 62 9/7 53
2014* 7/24 35 9/9 51
2015 7/16 57 9/10 54
2016*  7/8 51  9/3 54
2017*  7/18 26  8/29 46
*In 2014, 2016, and 2017 there were periods when dissolved oxygen concentrations rose above the hypoxia threshold of 3 mg/L in the early/middle part of August before dipping again during late August and early September.

WHAT IS HYPOXIA?

Hypoxia is a condition that occurs in bodies of water as dissolved oxygen concentrations decrease to levels where organisms become physically stressed and ultimately cannot survive. Prolonged hypoxic conditions result in severe die-offs of animals that are unable to move out of hypoxic waters, mass migrations of mobile animals, changes in water chemistry and other adverse ecological effects. The Long Island Sound Study defines hypoxia as waters with dissolved oxygen concentrations less than 3 mg/L.

For more information on hypoxia and efforts to reduce its occurrence in Long Island Sound read the hypoxia section in our management plan.

WHAT DOES THIS INDICATE?

The duration of hypoxia refers to the length of time during which hypoxia is observed in Long Island Sound. Hypoxia is most common during summer months, when waters are stratified (preventing mixing of oxygen from the surface to the bottom) and temperatures are higher (so less oxygen stays in the dissolved form in the water). The Long Island Sound water quality monitoring program measures dissolved oxygen concentrations at multiple stations across the Sound every other week during summer months (June-September) and monthly thereafter.

STATUS

The average duration of hypoxia in Long Island Sound from 1991 to 2013 was 55 days per year, with a range of 34 to 79 days. In 2017, the duration of hypoxia was only 26 days, which is well below average.  Although the start and end dates in 2014 were relatively typical (mid-July to early September), usually hypoxia persists throughout this period, while in 2014 a large wind and rain event caused mixing which ventillated the water and alleviated hypoxia during much of August.

CTDEEP began operating the water quality monitoring program in 1991.

*In 2014, 2016, and 2017 there were periods when dissolved oxygen concentrations rose above the hypoxia threshold of 3 mg/L in the early/middle part of August before dipping again during late August and early September.

 

 

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