Oil spilled in the ocean can sink to the seafloor due to its high density or by attaching to floating particulate matter, as happened during the Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation and Flocculent Accumulation (MOSSFA) event following Deepwater Horizon.
Oil, gases, and bubbles jet out together during a deep-ocean petroleum blowout, and the oil quickly breaks up into different-sized droplets. Predicting the sizes of these droplets is critical to determine how long it will take the oil to reach the ocean’s surface and the resulting oil slick’s size.
Researchers use numerical models to simulate oil spill scenarios and predict where oil will go, but the many factors that affect the oil’s path creates uncertainty in the predictions. Shitao Wang quantifies the uncertainty of ocean models to gauge the reliability of oil fate predictions.
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