Investigating the effect of oil spills
on the environment and public health.
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Funding Source: Year One Block Grant - Florida Institute of Oceanography

Project Overview

A Coordinated Modeling Approach in Support of Oil Spill Tracking

Principal Investigator
University of South Florida
College of Marine Science
Member Institutions
Florida State University, University of Miami, University of South Florida


Ocean circulation modeling groups from University of South Florida, Florida State University and University of Miami are teaming to provide oil spill trajectory modeling in support of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill crisis.  Our starting point consists of an ensemble of six different state of the art models that we have used, either individually or collectively, since the onset of this crisis.  With our work presently used in the NOAA Hazmat daily surface oil spill trajectory advisories, the impact and relevance to the gulf oil crisis are clearly demonstrated.  Similarly, our subsurface trajectories have guided research vessels in their findings of subsurface hydrocarbons.  We will continue to provide daily updates on oil spill trajectories both at the surface and at depth, and we will develop and implement additional modeling tools of necessity for tracking oil spill trajectories as the spill extends either farther westward in  the northern gulf or eastward onto the West Florida Shelf and even to the Florida Straits and the east coast.  These new tools will include provisions for assessing oil transport into the estuaries and through the Florida Keys.  It is critical that this work continues and expands as the environmental threats increase with time.  Apart from capping the well, nothing is more urgent that having the best possible forecasts on oil movement.  That we are  already doing this is the result of readiness and professional responsibility.  Sustaining and expanding our work defines the necessity for a quick start award to our multi-institutional, collaborative proposal.  We cannot sustain these essential activities without support.

This research was made possible by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.