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Proceedings Paper

Measurements in support of the Deepwater Horizon (MC-252) oil spill response
Author(s): Richard L. Crout
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Paper Abstract

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon (MC-252) drilling platform on 20 April 2010 began a long response by the United Area Command. Previous responses to oil spills were limited in time due to the amount of oil spilled and were generally confined to the surface. Some of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in 1500 meters of water broke into smaller droplets, whose density caused much of the oil to stay within a zone from 1000 to 1300 meters depth. The remainder of the oil rose to the surface. The two primary locations of oil required a broad collection of remote sensing techniques to locate and monitor the oil spill. Surface oil was monitored primarily from the air using aircraft and satellite assets. Satellite visible, infra-red, and radar satellite imagery helped to locate oil in the northern Gulf of Mexico and help predict its movement away from the spill site. Daily over-flights by aircraft provided higher spatial and temporal resolution data that were assimilated into daily products. These remote sensing assets were able to track the surface oil, but the subsurface oil required different techniques. In addition to salinity and temperature profiles to determine the subsurface structure, fluorometry and dissolved oxygen measurements provided information related to oil and its consumption by microorganisms. Water samples collected from CTD casts were analyzed on-board and returned to on-shore laboratories.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 May 2011
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8030, Ocean Sensing and Monitoring III, 80300J (4 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.888006
Show Author Affiliations
Richard L. Crout, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8030:
Ocean Sensing and Monitoring III
Weilin W. Hou; Robert Arnone, Editor(s)

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