Pollution


Rapid Response at Sea

As sea ice continues to melt in the Arctic and oil exploration expands in the region, the possibility of an oil spill occurring under ice is higher than ever. To help first responders cope with oil trapped under ice, ocean engineers are developing undersea vehicles that can map oil spills to improve situational awareness and decision making during an emergency.

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Putting the ‘nuclear coffin’ in perspective

WHOI geochemist Ken Buesseler discusses marine radioactivity monitoring in the Marshall Islands atop Runit Dome

WHOI chemist and marine radioactivity expert shares his thoughts about radioactivity waste leaking from Runit Dome—a bomb crater filled with radioactive soil in the Marshall Islands that is now being penetrated by rising sea levels

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Marine Microplastics

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What are marine microplastics? Marine microplastics are small fragments of plastic debris that are less than five millimeters long. Some…

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Oil Spills

Oil in the Ocean The systematic study of oil in the ocean is relatively new to science, but since the…

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Fukushima Radiation

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake 80 miles off the northeast coast of Japan triggered a series of tsunamis that struck nearby shorelines and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

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Pollution

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Oil spills, discarded chemicals, and leaky engines are burdens to the ocean and those who try to clean it.

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Beach Closures

Hundreds of beaches nationwide are closed each year due to the presence of potentially harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites in the water.

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Flounder Now Tumor-free in Boston Harbor

Flounder Now Tumor-free in Boston Harbor

In the late 1980s, more than three-quarters of the winter flounder caught in Boston Harbor – ”one of the most polluted harbors in America – ”showed signs of liver disease, many of them with cancerous tumors. But now, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has documented a dramatic rebound in flounder health spurred by decades of remediation efforts, including a $3.8 billion project to construct a sewage treatment plant and a 9.5-mile discharge tunnel with a 6,600-foot-long outfall diffuser. The findings appear in the Nov. 20, 2018 issue of the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.

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Sunlight Reduces Effectiveness of Dispersants Used in Oil Spills

Sunlight Reduces Effectiveness of Dispersants Used in Oil Spills

A research team led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that sunlight chemically alters crude oil floating on the sea surface within hours or days. In a follow-up study the team reported that sunlight changes oil into different compounds that dispersants cannot easily break up. The results of these two studies could affect how responders decide when, where, and how to use dispersants.

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To Track an Oil Spill

To Track an Oil Spill

WHOI scientists are helping to develop a robotic underwater vehicle that can track oil spills and help responders mitigate damage in remote or ice-covered areas such as the Arctic Ocean and the Great Lakes.

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