Chemistry 2011.org
Chemistry2011.org
All About Chemistry... 2011 and beyond

Related Stories

BP Deepwater Horizon disaster: Researchers continue working to safeguard shoreline

An NJIT research team has estimated the total mass of oil that reached the Gulf of Mexico shore in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout. It's the first time such an estimate was reported, and the study is published in the August issue of Environmental Science and Technology.

The researchers found that 22,000 tons of oil reached the Gulf shoreline in 2010. This finding will help officials determine the persistence of oil on the shore and identify potential harm to the ecosystem.

The study was conducted by the Center for Natural Resources Development and Protection (NRDP) at NJIT, whose director, Michel Boufadel, is known internationally for oil-spill research. Three researchers from the center -- Xiaolong Geng, Ali Abdollahi Nasab, and Jagadish Torlapati -- assisted Boufadel in the study.

The researchers found that the mass of oil reaching the shoreline was between 10,000 and 30,000 tons, with an average value of 22,000 tons. That amount represents about 5 percent of the total oil released in the Gulf from the blowout. More than 90 percent of the oil mass, moreover, landed in Louisiana, suggesting the severe impact on Louisiana in comparison to other states.

In comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 deposited 15,000 tons of oil on the shorelines of Prince William Sound, Alaska. Boufadel, who researched the Exxon spill, said the amount of oil reaching the shore from Deepwater is comparable to the Exxon Valdez spill.

Many researchers have studied the Deepwater Horizon spill, but none have been able to estimate the mass of oil that reached the Gulf shore, says Boufadel. That's because the oil spread over the surface water in minute particles -- 100 microns or less -- and made it difficult to measure. The paper found that due to evaporation and sinking the oil disappears off the surface at a rate of 20 percent per day. Therefore, only about 50 percent of the oil remains on the water surface after four days.

Adopting the latest computational models from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boufadel's team used sophisticated satellites to evaluate the depletion of oil from the surface water.

"That is what gave us an integrated view of the oil that other researchers were not aware of," says Boufadel, who is also a professor of civil and environmental engineering at NJIT. "The NRDP research team was successful as it was able to combine engineering and environmental capabilities with computational skills."

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New Jersey Institute of Technology. The original article was written by Rob Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Share this story with your friends!

Social Networking

Please recommend us on Facebook, Twitter and more:

Other social media tools

Global Partners
Feedback

Tell us what you think of Chemistry 2011 -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?

About us

Chemistry2011 is an informational resource for students, educators and the self-taught in the field of chemistry. We offer resources such as course materials, chemistry department listings, activities, events, projects and more along with current news releases.

Events & Activities

Are you interested in listing an event or sharing an activity or idea? Perhaps you are coordinating an event and are in need of additional resources? Within our site you will find a variety of activities and projects your peers have previously submitted or which have been freely shared through creative commons licenses. Here are some highlights: Featured Idea 1, Featured Idea 2.

About you

Ready to get involved? The first step is to sign up by following the link: Join Here. Also don’t forget to fill out your profile including any professional designations.

Global Partners