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Geophysical Monograph Series



  • oil spills
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • NOAA
  • modeling
  • pollution

Index Terms

  • 4251 Oceanography: General: Marine pollution
  • 4255 Oceanography: General: Numerical modeling
  • 4275 Oceanography: General: Remote sensing and electromagnetic processes
  • 4299 Oceanography: General: General or miscellaneous



Tactical Modeling of Surface Oil Transport During the Deepwater Horizon Spill Response

A. MacFadyen, G. Y. Watabayashi, C. H. Barker, and C. J. Beegle-Krause

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) provides scientific support for oil and chemical spills. During the unprecedented Deepwater Horizon oil spill response in the Gulf of Mexico, the Emergency Response Division (OR&R/Emergency Response Division) provided daily 72 h tactical forecasts for movement of the surface oil. Surface oil distribution was initialized daily from analysis of satellite imagery and incorporation of visual overflight observations. Computation of oil trajectories utilized currents from a number of hydrodynamic models allowing an ensemble forecasting approach. Results from the suite of trajectories were combined to produce a final forecast product for distribution to the Incident Command Posts. These forecasts were utilized during the Deepwater Horizon response for planning, allocation of resources, and direction of response assets.

Citation: MacFadyen, A., G. Y. Watabayashi, C. H. Barker, and C. J. Beegle-Krause (2011), Tactical modeling of surface oil transport during the Deepwater Horizon spill response, in Monitoring and Modeling the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: A Record-Breaking Enterprise, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 195, edited by Y. Liu et al., pp. 167–178, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2011GM001128.

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