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Environment General United States

The longest running US environmental disaster still affecting the Gulf Coast

If we care for our heritage, we cannot ignore that the worst oil spill in U.S. history was much worse than had been thought.

Deepwater Horizon Spill
Fire boat crews battle the blazing remnants of Deepwater Horizon on April 21, 2010. (Coast Guard, Via AFP/Getty Images)

Major oil spills are catastrophic events that immensely affect the environment and society, yet determining their spatial extent is a highly complex task.

During the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout, ~149,000 km2 of the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) was covered by oil slicks and vast areas of the Gulf were closed for fishing. Yet, the satellite footprint does not necessarily capture the entire oil spill extent.

A new study published in Science Advances use in situ observations and oil spill transport modeling to examine the full extent of the DWH spill, focusing on toxic-to-biota (i.e., marine organisms) oil concentration ranges. We demonstrate that large areas of the GoM were exposed to invisible and toxic oil that extended beyond the boundaries of the satellite footprint and the fishery closures.
 Click here to learn more.


Is Gulf Oil Spill’s Damage Over or Still Unfolding? Click here to read the National Geographic article.



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