oil plume

Mapping the Oil Plume

Posted Sun, Aug 29, 2010 by Emily Fisher to chemistry, gulf of mexico, jeff short, oceana gulf expedition, oil plume, pemd strips, science experiment

On Friday the Latitude set off on the next leg of the journey: measuring the underwater oil plume in the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s our on-board dispatcher for this leg, Will Race, on the very wet start to the experiment:

On Friday, the crew held a strategy meeting to discuss the next seven days and what’s in store. Pacific Science Director Dr. Jeff Short explained his science experiment: The basic approach for evaluating the subsurface oil plumes will be the deployment of an array of moorings with sensor strips every 100 meters.

Moorings will be deployed in three main areas: 12 within 5 km of the wellhead, 12 in a rectangular array extending up to 90 km to the northeast of the wellhead, and 12 in another rectangular array extending up to 90 km southwest of the wellhead.

With everyone in agreement, it was time to go. Due to the drastically shallow shore line, the Mississippi Port Authorities require a local captain come aboard to navigate boats through the shallows, until they are offshore. An additional treat was when pelicans and various other marine birds decided to escort us out to sea.

Once out at sea, the Oceana team continued to assemble gear for the next day’s first mooring drop. We traveled nearly 10 hours to the first drop site.


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Day 14: Preparing for the Plume

Posted Thu, Aug 26, 2010 by Emily Fisher to deepwater horizon, dispersed oil, gulf oil spill, jeffrey short, measuring the plume, oceana gulf expedition, oil plume, science experiment

Loading gear onto the Latitude. © Oceana/Carlos Suarez

While Oceana’s senior campaign communications manager Dustin Cranor gets a much-deserved break on land, Pacific administrative assistant Will Race will be sending us updates from the boat for the next few weeks. Here’s Will's first post:

Wednesday brought heat, humidity and eight new Oceana staff members, who will take part in a two-week oil plume experiment. Alongside Vice President of Oceana Europe, Xavier Pastor, the experiment will be led by Pacific Director, Susan Murray and Pacific Science Director, Dr. Jeff Short. The team will head out Friday to begin the study.

The Oceana Latitude also had to say goodbye to ROV operator Matthias Gorny and Oceana Pacific office staff Cayleigh Allen. The two embarked on a three day journey to Monterey, California, where they will participate in the Oceana Pacific California Current expedition and use the ROV to document important ecological areas of Monterey Bay.


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Where’s Waldo? In the Gulf!

Posted Mon, Jul 19, 2010 by Emily Fisher to expedition, gulf of mexico, gulf oil spill, NRDC, oceana, oil plume, ROV, science, underwater robot, waldo

© Naples Daily News

Today Oceana and NRDC, in collaboration with Mote Marine Laboratory, are launching an oil-detecting underwater robot off the Florida Keys as a first line of defense against underwater oil plumes from the Gulf oil spill.

For 25 to 30 days, the robot, a.k.a.Waldo, will travel undersea in the water column, an area that satellite imagery cannot access, gathering data every few seconds and transmitting the information to researchers via satellite every three hours.

If oil is detected, Mote Marine Laboratory will provide the local government with this information so that emergency resources and response plans can be activated to help protect the Keys’ important ecological resources.

You can check out Waldo’s location and data throughout his expedition at Rutgers University’s web site.  


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