Research vessel deployed to gather data at Macondo site returns
GULFPORT, Mississippi -- Scientists have embarked on a 3-week expedition aboard the University of Miami’s 96-ft R/V Walton Smith to launch 300 drifters in the Gulf of Mexico to understand how surface ocean currents near the site of the Deepwater Horizon might have influenced the transport of oil and dispersants from the 2010 spill. The ship will arrive in Gulfport, MS on Monday, July 23.
This unprecedented Grand Lagrangian Deployment (GLAD) expedition marks the first time a study of this magnitude will map surface currents in the area with customized drifters. The understanding of the various scales of oceanic flows may improve our understanding of near-surface ocean flows in spreading and dispersing pollutants and materials in the marine environment.
This experiment, which is complex and painstaking, is expected to provide a key step in making vast improvements in how and where the U.S. Coast Guard and other emergency responders are deployed in the event of another oil spill or at-sea emergency in the Gulf.
The Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbons in the Environment (CARTHE), a project funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, an independent body established by BP to administer the company's 10-year, $500 million commitment to research into the effects of the Deepwater Horizon incident. CARTHE is comprised of twenty-six principal investigators from twelve research institutions nationwide.