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Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
barbgo@rsmas.miami.edu
305-421-4704
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

Winds Washed Oil Spill Away from South Florida

Caption: In a new study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, a team from the University of Miami, Colorado School of Mines and Naval Research Laboratory used numerical simulations to explain the crucial role of the wind-induced surface drift on the fate of the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. This drift was found to have a strong influence on the displacement of oil, accounting for the influence of winds on the top surface of ocean waters through the generation of waves and additional circulation. These particular wind effects are generally not represented in ocean circulation models and were missing from real time ocean circulation predictions during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This figure shows a comparison between the satellite-observed (left) and the modeled (right) oil slick extent on June 7, 2010.

Credit: NASA-MODIS (Left)/ Univ. of South Florida (right)

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Related news release: University of Miami-led study finds winds played important role in keeping oil away from S. Fla.


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