Recalling Deepwater Horizon, One Year Later
Hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents will remember April 20, 2010, as a tragic and pivotal day. It was the day the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 rig workers, and starting an oil spill that ultimately released an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil. As this disaster unfolded, many NOAA researchers scrapped previously planned missions and lab work in order to respond to the need to understand the spill. The priority became science to serve the immediate needs of Gulf Coast communities and ecosystems.
NOAA Research scientists have taken advantage of opportunities to study and learn from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. What they learned not only helped guide the response to Deepwater Horizon, but also will be applicable to oil spills that may take place in the future. The links below describe scientific journal papers published on NOAA Research investigations of the oil spill and research missions conducted to support NOAA’s response and restoration efforts.
Read more about the NOAA Research response to this disaster.
NOAA news releases on oil spill-related scientific discoveries
Scientists Use Airborne Chemistry Measurements to Assess Flow Rate – March 14, 2011
Insights from Oil Spill Air Pollution Study Have Applications Beyond Gulf -- March 10, 2011
Scientists Map Origin of Large, Underwater Hydrocarbon Plume in Gulf – Aug. 19, 2010
Scientists Look at Fate of Suspended and Dissolved Oil -- Aug. 18, 2010
NOAA-Supported Scientists Find Changes to Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone – Aug. 9, 2010
NOAA: Gulf’s Surface Oil Not a Threat to Southern Florida, Keys and East Coast – July 30, 2010
NOAA news releases on Deepwater Horizon science missions
NOAA Releases Data Report on Air Quality Measurements – July 21. 2010
NOAA Models Long-Term Oil Threat to Gulf and East Coast Shoreline – July 2, 2010
NOAA Sends Two Ships to Study Loop Current and Coastal Florida Waters – June 30, 2010
NOAA Deploys Research Aircraft to Gulf to Help Monitor Air Quality -- June 8, 2010
Cooperative Institutes Contribute
Through partnerships with academic institutes, NOAA leverages the expertise and resources within universities to perform research vital to the NOAA mission. Located across the country, 18 NOAA Cooperative Institutes receive funding from NOAA to conduct research on coastal and atmospheric questions. Several NOAA Cooperative Institutes performed missions and research during the Deepwater Horizon disaster that gave response managers the best available information to guide their actions.
Read more about how the NOAA Cooperative Institutes contributed:
Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration Research and and Technology assess oil impact
Insights from Oil Spill Air Pollution Study have Implications Beyond the Gulf -- podcast from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
From the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Science:
CIMAS Associate Director Appointed to Panel to Study Effects of Oil Spill
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science oil spill web site
Satellites Capture View of Oil Spill from Space
- Scientists Locate Oil Plume Extending Toward Dry Tortugas
Sea Grant Contributions
The NOAA Sea Grant College Program was well positioned to provide immediate assistance to communities along the Gulf of Mexico which were drastically affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Sea Grant outreach and extension agents continue to assist their local communities as they help those impacted by the oil spill navigate through a maze of federal and state agencies, fishery closure notices, application forms, and claims processes. Read more.
Scroll down to view video interviews with some of the Sea Grant specialists who assisted in the Deepwater Horizon response.