Oil Spills


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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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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Did Dispersants Help Responders Breathe Easier?

Did Dispersants Help Responders Breathe Easier?

Seven years after the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the decision to inject chemical dispersants into the deep ocean has remained contentious. New evidence reveals an unexpected benefit.

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Dispersants Improved Air Quality for Responders at Deepwater Horizon

Dispersants Improved Air Quality for Responders at Deepwater Horizon

A study published Aug. 28, 2017, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences adds a new dimension to the controversial decision to inject large amounts of chemical dispersants immediately above the crippled oil well at the seafloor during the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. The dispersants may have significantly reduced the amount of harmful gases in the air at the sea surface’”diminishing health risks for emergency responders and allowing them to keep working to stop the uncontrolled spill and clean up the spilled oil sooner.

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Scientists and Navy Join Forces

Scientists and Navy Join Forces

When U.S. Navy were preparing a major NATO military exercise, they solicited help from WHOI scientists to plan how to mitigate potential environmental damage from oil spills.

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What Happened to Deepwater Horizon Oil?

What Happened to Deepwater Horizon Oil?

Officials pumped a huge amount of chemicals into the deep ocean during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in an effort to disperse the oil. A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers evidence that the dispersant may helped microbes break down the oil.

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