Research, response for future oil spills: Lessons learned from Deepwater Horizon

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 3, 2012

NOAA – “A special collection of articles about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill provides the first comprehensive analysis and synthesis of the science used in the unprecedented response effort by the government, academia, and industry. Papers present a behind-the-scenes look at the extensive scientific and engineering effort — teams, data, information, and advice from within and outside the government — assembled to respond to the disaster. And, with the benefit of hindsight and additional analyses, these papers evaluate the accuracy of the information that was used in real-time to inform the response team and the public. For the most part, information presented publically during the spill was accurate. Oil was rapidly consumed by bacteria, seafood was not contaminated by hydrocarbons or dispersants, and the oil budget was by and large accurate. The only part of the oil budget that was later found to be inaccurate was the fraction of oil that was chemically dispersed versus naturally dispersed. That information had no impact on public safety, seafood safety or the response effort, but understanding the amount of oil that was dispersed chemically vs. naturally is important for future such efforts…Two overview papers and 13 specialty papers constitute a special section of the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.”

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