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Research, response for future oil spills: Lessons learned from Deepwater Horizon
Date:12/4/2012

in the history of the U.S. and one that also took the lives of 11 oil rig workers.

Two overview papers and 13 specialty papers constitute a special section of the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Of the 15 papers, three are newly published: two introductory papers and one specialty paper provide an inside look at the scientific and engineering aspects of stopping the flow of oil, guaranteeing the integrity of the well once it was shut in, estimating the amount of oil spilled, capturing and recovering oil, tracking and forecasting surface oil, protecting coastal and oceanic wildlife and habitat, managing fisheries and protecting the safety of seafood. The papers describe the process underway to determine the impact of the spill on the natural resources and ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico, but because those analyses are not completed, no conclusions are presented. The remaining 12 papers have been previously published online.

"While the federal family was well versed in oil response and remediation, and we brought many resources to bear, the scale and complexity of Deepwater Horizon taxed our organizations in unprecedented ways," said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "We learned much during this extraordinary disaster and we hope the lessons learned will be implemented before and used during any future events."

In one of the papers"Science in support of the Deepwater Horizon response"lead author Lubchenco and her co-authors suggest future oil spill response preparedness include:

  • Gather adequate environmental baselines for all regions at risk;
  • Develop new technologies for rapid precise reconnaissance and sampling to support a timely and robust response effort;
  • Fill large information gaps regarding biological effects of oil, changing climate, and other simultaneous drivers of variability in coastal and aquat
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Contact: Ciaran Clayton
ciaran.clayton@noaa.gov
202-617-9668
NOAA Headquarters
Source:Eurekalert

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