Apr 20, 2012Science and Technology
New ecological model for deepwater oil spills

Researchers have provided new insight and a new model for dealing with deepwater oil spills since the Deepwater Horizon oil platform blowout. The study, produced by the Gulf Oil Spill Ecotox Working Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), is published in the May issue of the journal Bioscience. The previous model assumed that oil would simply float up to the surface and accumulate there and along the coastline. This is sufficient for pipeline breaks and tanker ruptures, but it is not applicable for the novel type of deep blowout. The scientists have created the first whole conceptual model for understanding both the Deepwater Horizon spill and analogous disasters in the future. This new model accounts for how deepwater oil spills unfold and where the resulting ecological impacts accrue.

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