BP Cash Creates Oil-Spill Archive Larger Than All U.S. Libraries
– August 14, 2015
Oil wasn’t the only thing that gushed after a well operated by BP Plc exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. There was also a fountain of research.
(From Bloomberg / by Lauren Etter) — In the five years since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig disaster, a scientific renaissance has blossomed in the Gulf, with thousands of researchers studying everything from crude-tolerant jellyfish to the thermodynamics of oil dispersion to alligator stem cells.
Now, from a gleaming building overlooking the turquoise Corpus Christi Bay, a team of scientists and marine biologists is using part of a $500 million grant from BP to create a single database to house the troves of information stemming from the lawsuits, damage assessments and research endeavors to make sense of the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
“We’re looking at as much as three petabytes of data,” said Larry McKinney, executive director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, which is housing the data. “If you took all the books in all the libraries in all the universities in the United States, that’s one petabyte.”
The publicly available database, called the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative, is among the few positive developments to come from one the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. The spill sullied hundreds of miles of coastline, killed thousands of marine animals and birds, and polluted the deepest depths of the ocean floor.
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