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14. Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico

006: Advances in Coastal Ocean Modeling, Analysis, and Prediction: Schedule

Organizers: Villy Kourafalou, University of Miami/RSMAS, vkourafalou@rsmas.miami.edu; Pierre De Mey, LEGOS - Laboratoire d'Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales, demey-redir@neyak.org; Ruoying He, North Carolina State University, rhe@ncsu.edu; Alex Kurapov, Oregon State University, kurapov@coas.oregonstate.edu

Downscaling and extending predictability in coastal and shelf seas are two of the objectives of the GODAE OceanView (GOV) initiative through its Coastal Ocean and Shelf Seas Task Team (COSSTT). Broad participation and international coordination of interdisciplinary coastal and shelf models nested in data assimilative large scale models is a COSSTT priority. This session will provide a forum for multi-scale hydrodynamic modeling and observational studies that aim toward scientific validation, prediction and operational applications of numerical models in coastal and shelf seas, leading to new understanding of multiscale nonlinear ocean processes. Applications of nested models, such as the influence of physical processes on ecosystem dynamics and interdisciplinary coastal predictions are also welcome. The session will promote the discussion of methodologies that lead to reliable coastal forecasts (such as data assimilation, error analysis, influence of nesting, resolution and forcing), Observing System Simulation Experiments and the impact of sustainable, integrated modeling and observational networks that connect local, regional and global scales. Applications on lessons learned from prediction and/or hindcasts during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the 2011 tsunami in Japan are particularly welcome. (2, 6, 13, 14)

030: Gulf of Mexico Circulation & Ecosystem Numerical Modeling: Schedule

Organizers: Christopher N. K. Mooers, Portland State University, cmooers@cecs.pdx.edu; Patrick Hogan, Naval Research Laboratory, pat.hogan@nrlssc.navy.mil; Leo Oey, Princeton University, lyo@princeton.edu; Claire Paris, RSMAS/University of Miami, cparis@rsmas.miami.edu

The circulation of the Gulf of Mexico is dominated by the Loop Current and the eddies it sheds, and by the passage of intense weather systems in all seasons. The highly variable and intense circulation, together with river discharges, impacts the marine ecosystems of the Gulf. Intensive and extensive field and modeling studies have increased the understanding of the circulation and provide a basis for skill assessing numerical circulation models and prediction systems. Today, more than 20 significant models exist for the Gulf of Mexico circulation. Hence, the Gulf of Mexico has potential to serve as a modeling & observing system testbed for prediction systems. The aim of this session is to explore the skill of some of these models, especially as they apply to ecosystem models. The complex roles of the circulation on dispersion and ecosystem response in the Deepwater Horizon oil & gas gusher event, which began 20 APR 10 and ran for three months, gives new impetus (indeed, urgency) to this topic area. (2, 9, 13, 14)

078: The Fate of Discharged Hydrocarbons from the Macondo Reservoir and the Impacts to Gulf Ecosystems: Schedule

Organizers: Joel Kostka, Georgia Institute of Technology, joel.kostka@biology.gatech.edu; Markus Huettel, Florida State University, mhuettel@fsu.edu; Ian MacDonald, Florida State University, imacdonald@fsu.edu; Samantha Joye, University of Georgia, mandyjoye@gmail.com

The blowout of the Macondo reservoir beneath the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig resulted in the world’s largest accidental release of hydrocarbons into the ocean in recorded history. Contamination of ecosystems by these hydrocarbons continues to cause severe environmental and economic consequences in the Gulf region. This session focuses on an understanding of the physical-chemical fate of the hydrocarbons and itís impacts on ecosystem function in the Gulf of Mexico, including all aspects of food webs from microorganisms to large mammals. Participation will be encouraged from researchers that employ interdisciplinary approaches including field observations, experimentation, technology development, and numerical modeling. Topics to be addressed will include:  physical distribution and dispersion of oil with associated dispersants, biogeochemical degradation of oil hydrocarbons, and the environmental effects of hydrocarbons on planktonic and benthic communities from the deepsea to shallow coastal systems. The risk of accidental oil discharge to the marine environment remains high for the foreseeable future as increased economic pressure to access new oil reserves in deep marine waters will require less tested technologies. Thus, there remains a critical need to understand the fate and effects of oil and gas in order to support decision making, design management strategies and guide cleanup efforts. (3, 4, 14)

088:  Consequences of the March 11, 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant on the Ocean: Schedule

Organizers: Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, kbuesseler@whoi.edu; Motoyoshi Ikeda, Hokkaido University, mikeda@ees.hokudai.ac.jp

The March 11, 2011 earthquake off Japan and subsequent tsunami caused devastation on land and disruption of cooling systems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant facility. The lack of adequate cooling led to overheating, venting of radioactive gases, explosions, fires and thereby atmospheric releases and fallout of radioactive contaminants. Water used to cool the reactors and spent fuel pond also led to considerable release of radionuclides to the ocean from direct run off and saturated soils and groundwater. This session seeks to bring together early data on the impact of these events on the ocean together with modeling results for a more comprehensive understanding of the event. This includes studies of the relative path and magnitude of the radioactive releases, range of radionuclides released, dose assessments, levels of contaminants in the sea water, sediment and biota, dispersion patterns measured and predicted for both near and far fields. Not only radioactive contaminant studies, but also work related to coastal flooding impacts and other non-radioactive pollutants (oils, sewage, etc.). and their transport pathways are also appropriate for this session. A goal of this session is to share with the broader community our initial assessments of the ocean off Japan. (4, 14)

113: Dynamics of the Deep Gulf of Mexico: Schedule

Organizers: Dmitry Dukhovskoy, COAPS FSU, ddukhovskoy@fsu.edu; Steven Morey, COAPS FSU, smorey@fsu.edu; Cortis Cooper, Chevron Energy Technology Co., cortcooper@chevron.com

An acceleration of observational and modeling studies over the past decade has changed the view of the deep Gulf of Mexico from being a relatively quiescent abyss to a very energetic environment. Recent research highlights the importance of dynamical processes such as internal topographically trapped waves, baroclinic tides, and deep eddies in the Gulf and suggests that a primary source of energy to the deep Gulf is the penetration of the Loop Current, a branch of the upper ocean western boundary current that flows through the basin. Yet the energy transition from the upper ocean to the deeper layers is unclear. Recent advances in this area have shed light into the deep dynamics that are influenced by the strong upper ocean currents and eddies. This session seeks contributions that present new insight into the dynamics of the deep Gulf of Mexico, the mechanisms by which energy is transferred to the deep circulation, propagation and distribution of energy throughout the basin, and interaction of the energetic circulation with topographic features. Talks and posters presenting results from recent and ongoing observational, theoretical, and modeling studies are particularly welcome. (2, 14)

143: Modeling Oceanic Pollutant Transport: Schedule

Organizers: Christopher H Barker, NOAA Emergency Response Division, Chris.Barker@noaa.gov; Amy MacFadyen, NOAA Emergency Response Division, Amy.Macfadyen@noaa.gov; Peter Murphy, NOAA, Peter.Murphy@noaa.gov

Ocean circulation modeling is a field of study with many diverse applications. In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, modeling of oil surface oil transport has been a particularly newsworthy application. Advances continue to be made in surface oil spill models, but their use is now comparatively well developed. By contrast, application of circulation models to the movement and dispersion of other pollutants, including marine debris, non-petroleum chemical releases, and unexploded ordnance, has not been developed or discussed to the same level. The need for understanding of these pollutants, including their movement and their impacts, has been underscored by recent events ranging from use of dispersant at depth in the Deepwater Horizon response to the marine debris and radioactive contaminant releases caused by the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011. Scientists across disciplines are exploring new approaches as well as new applications for existing techniques to address these issues and others. This session will highlight ongoing work and recent advances in data collection and assimilation, considerations of 3D modeling, and new applications of existing ocean circulation models to the varying problems of oceanic pollutant transport modeling. (2, 13, 14)

174: Ecosystem Science in the Gulf of Mexico: Knowledge Gaps, Science Needs, and Long-Term Plans for the Future: Schedule

Organizers: Alan P. Leonardi, NOAA, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, alan.leonardi@noaa.gov; Rebecca E. Green, BOEM, Environmental Sciences Section, rebecca.green@boemre.gov

The Gulf of Mexico coastal and marine ecosystems provide a host of ecosystem services, including fisheries, global nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, and tourism and recreation. Recent events such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the 2011 Mississippi River flooding are dramatic examples of anthropogenic and natural stressors that are influencing this large marine ecosystem and that have exposed the limits of our knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. This session will explore these gaps in knowledge, examine the research and science needs to support a long-term adaptive ecosystem approach to understanding and predicting changes to the Gulfís natural and human-based components, and propose the framework(s) and activities required to meet these needs and close our knowledge gaps in the future. (3, 9, 14)