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LSU's WAVCIS director says oil remains below surface, will come ashore in pulses
Date:9/8/2010

Profilers, in the Gulf of Mexico. The ADCPs are exceptionally sensitive. Housed on the seafloor, they send acoustic signals up to the surface of the water, measuring the entire water column for everything from current direction to speed and temperature. It's also integrated with the National Data Buoy Center, or NDBC, system, providing researchers worldwide with a comprehensive look at the Gulf environment, which is an invaluable research tool during the inevitable hurricane season, and also during disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

"WAVCIS is among the most sensitive ocean observing systems in the entire nation," said Stone. "We measure a wide variety of physical parameters at the water surface, water column and on the sea bed. This information is extremely helpful in predicting or determining where the oil is and where it's going to go. Because our information is updated hourly and available to the public, our lab has played a primary role in providing facts about the situation surrounding the oil's movement and location."

Stone, whose experience with WAVCIS has spanned everything from natural to manmade disasters, knows that only time will tell the severity of the oil's impact.

"This is a long term problem. It's not simply going to go away. I was in Prince William Sound 10 years after the Exxon-Valdez event, and when I lifted up a rock, there was still residual oil beneath it," he said. "Thus, the residence time of oil in the coastal environment can be substantial, although ecosystem conditions along the northern Gulf are very different and will likely recover quicker than in Alaska. We here at WAVCIS can at least track Gulf conditions to monitor the situation as closely as possible."


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Contact: Ashley Berthelot
aberth4@lsu.edu
225-578-3870
Louisiana State University
Source:Eurekalert

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