April 20, 2020 is the 10th anniversary of Deepwater Horizon, and scientists funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) have been studying the oil spill’s impacts since then and providing knowledge that will help us be better prepared for future spills.
Scientists traced and analyzed methane bubbles as they ascended from a deep seafloor seep to the ocean’s surface and compared results to two computer models’ output to better understand methane dissolution processes.
Scientist and author M. Mitchell Waldrop accompanied researchers, funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, as they conducted the largest experimental simulation to-date of the Deepwater Horizon oil intrusion.
Researchers identified small- to hurricane-scale resuspension events using time-series data of sinking organic material near the Deepwater Horizon site.
Scientists analyzed in situ deep-depth water column measurements before and after the Deepwater Horizon well was capped and calculated degradation rate estimates for 49 hydrocarbons (23% of released spill material) and inferred the rates of an additional 5 hydrocarbons.
Scientists ran model simulations for oil evaporation based on composition measurements of fresh Macondo crude oil and weathered surface oil from Deepwater Horizon slicks.
Research consortia involved in the GoMRI self-organized a rapid response to characterize the waters around the Hercules 265 rig. They found evidence of an immediate response from the surrounding environment’s microbial community to elevated methane concentrations.
Texas A&M University scientists analyzed data made publically-available by BP for 20,000+ water samples collected from 13,000 stations during and after the 2010 spill. They found that oil occurrence was patchy with only about 20% of the samples having hydrocarbon levels above pre-spill background conditions.
Scientists used stereoscopic high-speed, high-resolution cameras mounted on remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to make fine-scale imaging and chemistry measurements inside and around gas bubbles rising from two natural Gulf of Mexico seeps.
Chemical engineer Jordan Young has found his happy place on a research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. He’s looking for changes in ocean acidity following the Deepwater Horizon spill. As the oil biologically degrades, some of it oxidizes to carbon dioxide and may increase acidification.