Navigation Links
New method successfully predicted how oil from Deepwater Horizon spill would spread
Date:9/2/2010

Prompted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a UC Santa Barbara scientist has come up with a new way of predicting how contaminants like oil will spread. He was able to forecast several days in advance that oil from that spill would wash ashore in particular parts of the Gulf of Mexico.

"We predicted where the oil was going to go," says Igor Mezic, a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara who studies fluid dynamics. "We were able to do 3-day predictions pretty accurately."

In a paper published online Sept. 2 in Science Express, Mezic, together with Sophie Loire, a postdoctoral fellow who works with Mezic, and colleagues at the software development company Aimdyn, Inc. in Santa Barbara and at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, describe how they predicted the movement of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico after an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20.

In the following weeks, Mezic and his colleagues generated frequent forecasts of the movement of the spill and passed them on to those involved in the cleanup.

"We were on the phone with people, several days in advance, telling them where the oil was going to go," says Mezic, who began the work after watching coverage of the oil spill. "I looked at this problem on the TV and thought I could do something about it," he says. "I felt there could be a better set of theories to predict how oil will move."

Mezic and his colleagues successfully predicted where and when oil washed ashore in the Mississippi River Delta and later, on the white-sand beaches of Pensacola, Florida, and they forecast that the spill would then move east toward Panama City Beach. Their predictions were accurate to within a couple of miles of the actual extent of the spill later assessed by NOAA from aerial surveys.

It's not easy to predict how an oil slick will spread across the ocean, Mezic says, because of the large scale involved, and the constantly changing movement of water at the sea surface, driven largely by wind.

Mezic's new approach to the problem is based on computations that describe how slicks of oil tend to be stretched into filaments by motion at the sea surface. To produce predictions of oil movement after the Deepwater Horizon accident, the researchers incorporated forecasts of sea surface conditions from a U.S. Navy model.

Mezic says further refinements of this new methodology could be done in order to predict the spread of many other contaminants such as ash spewed out of an erupting volcano or warm air seeping into a climate-controlled building.

"It's pretty universal," Mezic says. "It could be applied to many different kinds of situations where a contaminant or heat is moved around by a liquid or gas."


'/>"/>

Contact: Anna Davison
adavison@engineering.ucsb.edu
805-893-4301
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. University at Buffalo symposium on in silico methods, high throughput screening
2. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features chromosomal rearrangement, gene copy number methods
3. Half-a-loaf method can improve magnetic memories
4. Zinc finger nuclease, immunoprecipitation methods featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
5. New methods, new math speed detection of drug-resistant malaria
6. Body of evidence: New fast, reliable method to detect gravesoil
7. California team to receive up to $122 million to develop method to produce fuels from sunlight
8. Mother Nature to provide an environmentally friendly method for reducing mosquitoes
9. BioDonostia evaluates the use of a food-related method for the diagnosis of hepatic steatosis
10. New biofuels processing method for mobile facilities
11. New retrieval method makes studying cancer proteins easier
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/18/2017)... 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging ... server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A ... Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan ... at the Las Vegas Convention Center April ... Click here for ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D ... will run alongside the expo portion of the event ... and demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing ... and manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, 2017 ... identity management and secure authentication solutions, today announced ... contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) ... for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation has ... onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow us ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... instruments and applications consulting for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is ... Nanoscience Analytical offers a broad range of contract analysis services for advanced ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... Oct. 6, 2017  The 2017 Nobel Prize ... scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and ... cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have helped to ... structural biology community. The winners worked with systems ... routinely produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images of protein ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... On ... and webinar on INSIGhT, the first-ever adaptive clinical trial for glioblastoma (GBM). The ... The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Understanding the microbiome, the millions of bacteria that live in ... Are My Future, the newest exhibit on display at the University City Science Center’s ... through the lens of the gut microbiome. , Gut Love opens October 12, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: