sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Gulf Spill dispersants study

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Gulf Spill dispersants study

'When oil and gas mixtures are ejected from a deep wellhead, liquid oil droplets of many different sizes form and rise toward the ocean surface. Because the smaller droplets become as dense as the surrounding water deep below the surface--in this case at about 1,100 meters—they are swept away laterally by prevailing ocean currents (left panel). When a dispersant is added at the depth of the wellhead, a component called a surfactant breaks up the oil into small droplets (middle panel). If the disp'    Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

To combat last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nearly 800,000 gallons of chemical dispersant were injected directly into the oil and gas flow coming out of the wellhead nearly one mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, as scientists begin to assess how well the strategy worked at breaking up oil droplets, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) chemist Elizabeth B. Kujawinski and her colleagues report that a major component of the dispersant itself was contained within an oil-gas-laden plume in the deep ocean and had still not degraded some three months after it was applied.

While the results suggest the dispersant did mingle with the oil and gas flowing from the mile-deep wellhead, they also raise questions about what impact the deep-water residue of oil and dispersant—which some say has its own toxic effects—might have had on environment and marine life in the Gulf.

'This study gives our colleagues the first environmental data on the fate of dispersants in the spill,' said Kujawinski, who led a team that also included scientists from UC Santa Barbara. 'These data will form the basis of toxicity studies and modeling studies that can assess the efficacy and impact of the dispersants.

'We don’t know if the dispersant broke up the oil,' she added. 'We found that it didn’t go away, and that was somewhat surprising.'

The study, which appears online Jan. 26 in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal Environmental Science andTechnology, is the first peer-reviewed research to be published on the dispersant applied to the Gulf spill and the first data in general on deep application of a dispersant, according to ACS and Kujawinski. Some previous studies had indicated that dispersants applied to surface oil spills can help prevent surface slicks from endangering marshes and coastlines.

Kujawinski and her colleagues found one of the dispersant’s key components, called DOSS (dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate), was present in May and June—in parts-per-billion concentrations--in the plume from the spill more than 3,000 feet deep. The plume carried its mixture of oil, natural gas and dispersant in a southwest direction, and DOSS was detected there at lower (parts-per-trillion) concentrations in September.

Using a new, highly sensitive chromatographic technique that she and WHOI colleague Melissa C. Kido Soule developed, Kujawinski reports those concentrations of DOSS indicate that little or no biodegradation of the dispersant substance had occurred. The deep-water levels suggested any decrease in the compound could be attributed to normal, predictable dilution. They found further evidence that the substance did not mix with the 1.4 million gallons of dispersant applied at the ocean surface and appeared to have become trapped in deepwater plumes of oil and natural gas reported previously by other WHOI scientists and members of this research team. The team also found a striking relationship between DOSS levels and levels of methane, which further supports their assertion that DOSS became trapped in the subsurface.

Though the study was not aimed at assessing the possible toxicity of the lingering mixture—Kujawinski said she would 'be hard pressed to say it was toxic'—it nevertheless warrants toxicity studies into possible effects on corals and deep-water fish such as tuna, she said. The EPA and others have already begun or are planning such research, she added.

David Valentine of UC Santa Barbara and a co-investigator in the study, said, 'This work provides a first glimpse at the fate and reactivity of chemical dispersants applied in the deep ocean. By knowing how the dispersant was distributed in the deep ocean, we can begin to assess the subsurface biological exposure, and ultimately what effects the dispersant might have had.'

'The results indicate that an important component of the chemical dispersant injected into the oil in the deep ocean remained there, and resisted rapid biodegradation,' said Valentine, whose team collected the samples for Kujawinski’s laboratory analysis. 'This knowledge will ultimately help us to understand the efficacy of the dispersant application, as well as the biological effects.'

Kujawinski and Valentine were joined in the study by Soule and Krista Longnecker of WHOI, Angela K. Boysen a summer student at WHOI, and Molly C. Redmond of UC Santa Barbara. The work was funded by WHOI and the National Science Foundation. The instrumentation was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

In Kujawinski’s technique, the target molecule was extracted from Gulf water samples with a cartridge that isolates the DOSS molecule. She and her colleagues then observed the molecule through a mass spectrometer, ultimately calculating its concentration levels in the oil and gas plume. This method is 1,000 times more sensitive than that used by the EPA and could be used to monitor this molecule for longer time periods over longer distances from the wellhead, she said.

'With this method, we were able to tell how much [dispersant] was there and where it went,' Kujawinski said. She and her colleagues detected DOSS up to around 200 miles from the wellhead two to three months after the deep-water injection took place, indicating the mixture was not biodegrading rapidly.

'Over 290,000 kg, or 640,000 pounds, of DOSS was injected into the deep ocean from April to July,' she said. 'That’s a staggering amount, especially when you consider that this compound comprises only 10% of the total dispersant that was added.'

Kujawinski cautioned that 'we can’t be alarmist' about the possible implications of the lingering dispersant. Concentrations considered 'toxic' are at least 1,000 times greater than those observed by Kujawinski and her colleagues, she said. But because relatively little is known about the potential effects of this type of dispersant/hydrocarbon combination in the deep ocean, she added, 'We need toxicity studies.'

'The decision to use chemical dispersants at the sea floor was a classic choice between bad and worse,' Valentine said. 'And while we have provided needed insight into the fate and transport of the dispersant we still don’t know just how serious the threat is; the deep ocean is a sensitive ecosystem unaccustomed to chemical irruptions like this, and there is a lot we don’t understand about this cold, dark world.'

'The good news is that the dispersant stayed in the deep ocean after it was first applied,' Kujawinski says. 'The bad news is that it stayed in the deep ocean and did not degrade.'

http://www.whoi.edu/




by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=80318

7:42 AM Tue 15 Feb 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


News - USA and the World

Rolex Sydney to Hobart: Replay video coverage on Sail-World *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Replay of the start of the 2014 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race. The fleet is expected to experience fresh to strong headwinds for the start and first 24 hours, although winds will moderate towards the end of this period. ... [more]  

Will Comanche take a scalp? by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team
After blasting off the startline earlier today, Jim Clark's Comanche continues to hold the lead in the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart race eight hours into the race. ... [more]  

A stiff southerly is testing the boats and sailors on the first afternoon of the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart and by late afternoon, four yachts had retired from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual race. The first casualties of the race were Tina of Melbourne, forced out because of hull damage and Bear Necessity with a damaged rudder, just two hours into the race. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: The 117 competing yachts, including five 100-foot Maxis, represents the race’s largest number of starters since 1994. Of the five Maxis, Jim Clark’s Comanche (USA) made the early gains in the race’s 70th edition, reaching the first mark in record time and setting a blistering pace. Seven-time line honours winner Wild Oats XI was in close pursuit. ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014 - Start photos by Andrea Francolini. ... [more]  

Comanche skipper Ken Read was in fine form in this video interview. He says On the first night, will there will be too much upwind to be able to send it? It absolutey plays on my mind as the skipper this boat is untested. We’re completely cutting edge, and when it's cutting edge it’s a Formula 1 race car that blows up its engine on the first lap. ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Brad Kellett, Brindabella’s sailing master, reported that while he was doing his regular checks this evening he discovered larger than normal quantities of water in the bottom of the boat, found to be coming from damaged rudder bearings. 'We were just coming into our own after a risky tactical decision to go offshore paid off,' a disappointed Kellett said. ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Day 1 start images by photographer Carlo Borlenghi ... [more]  

One of the largest fleets in many years started the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race today in a building southerly and in bright sunshine. There seemed to be some mind games going on amongst the super maxis during the pre race dry runs as each in turn put in a single reef in the 30 minutes before the start. Possibly there was some tossing of the coin as to whether it was ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014 - Tony Cable just keeps going on. Last year he finished his 48th Sydney Hobart, setting a record for the number of races by an individual - this year it is number 49 - 49 not out, just one off the half ton! ... [more]  

America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill could well be the most overqualified grinder you’ll see in action in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart start line today. 'He’s been a wonderful team player and literally in the pre-start you’re going to see him grinding, he said he’d do whatever it takes, and he’s lived up to that,' Comanche skipper Ken Read said. ... [more]  

Expect a spectacular and very fast start down Sydney Harbour in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this year. At the final briefing for crews at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia this morning, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Andrew Treloar told the sailors that a southerly front is expected to move through Sydney about an hour before race start. ... [more]  

Chicken pies, the gooseneck and the voodoo stick were the last items to be ticked off today in Wild Oats XI’s preparation for a record-breaking bid in the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, which starts on Sydney Harbour at 1pm tomorrow. ... [more]  

The 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart coverage will go live at 0800 AEST with interviews, but will play the promo until then. ... [more]  

In the media scrum for interviews with the skippers and owners of the five super maxis that followed a short press conference at the CYCA on Christmas Eve, anyone from outside the yachting scene might not have noticed one of the world’s finest sailors and circumnavigators standing quietly to one side chatting with Iain Murray and Steve Jarvin ... [more]  

America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill could well be the most overqualified grinder you’ll see in action in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart start line today. 'He’s been a wonderful team player and literally in the pre-start you’re going to see him grinding, he said he’d do whatever it takes, and he’s lived up to that,' Comanche skipper Ken Read said. ... [more]  

When most would have been sitting down for Christmas lunch the Wild Oats XI team were to be seen out on Sydney Harbour testing their new - and appropriately named - gooseneck, that replaces the one that failed when out training earlier in the week. In a puffy nor'easter Wild Oats XI headed to Manly on the wind, swung around close to the Manly East mark and headed back down the harbour for home. ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014 - The Weather Gate *Feature by John Curnow and Rob Kothe, Sydney
In order to win this iconic ocean race,on handicap, there are three things you absolutely need to have accomplished. Two you can do something about, whereas the third is entirely out of your control. ... [more]  

For Christmas a Shiny new Sail-World.com *Feature by Brendan Maxwell
Santa’s elves started on January 7th 2014 building a set of shiny new Sail-World.com websites and just minutes before Christmas morning in one of Santa’s first touch downs Auckland New Zealand , TetraMedia General Manager Jedda Murphy flicked the switch on the dedicated TetraMeda servers in Frankfurt Germany to take almost all our world-wide audience to the new Sail-World sites. ... [more]  

Professor Pat Pending had the most amazing Convert-a-Car in the 60s cartoon series, the Wacky Races. It could do just about anything. Come Boxing Day and the start of the 70th Sydney-Hobart, some may well wish they had a Convert-a-Boat. Being a hundred feet at the start would be cool. You get away off your own line and in clear breeze. You’re also well inside the rulebook. ... [more]  

Few Americans have won more sailboat races than Ken Read, 53, the President of North Sails . Read is skipper of Comanche, Jim and Kristy Clark’s new 100-fooer, one of five that will be lining up on the startline of the Sydney to Hobart. I caught up with Read some 48 hours before the start to get his pulse on the race, Comanche, and the adventure that lies ahead, en route to Hobart. ... [more]  

The skippers of the five 100 foot super maxis battling for Line Honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race speak about the boats, the weather and their expectations. ... [more]  

For sure Christmas is upon the 16 skippers of the Barcelona World Race, but the way they enjoy it or deal with it will be different from team to team, and skipper to skipper. But for everyone the thoughts of the 31st December start, and what lies ahead for the coming three months, are impossible to suppress. Even on Christmas Day. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas Wind recovery video *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Three and a half minute video of the Team Vestas Wind recovery operation from the reef at St Brandon. The Volvo Ocean Racer struck the reef on November 29, just after nightfall breaking off both rudders, she also ;ost a considerable part of her stern section. ... [more]  

The magnitude of this 70th edition is reflected in the size of the international fleet: the forecast 117 race entrants, comprising yachts from seven different countries, represents the most sizeable Rolex Sydney Hobart depart since 1994. 'This year is both the 70th edition of the race and the 70th anniversary of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia,' explains John Cameron. ... [more]  

The lightest of the supermaxi's Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin 100 suffered a major structural deck failure in pre-Hobart training. Sailing master David Witt explains in his usual laconic manner just what happened. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Sydney Hobart yacht race record holder, Wild Oats XI, is the centre of an intense repair effort on the eve of the big race after suffering damage during her most recent training run. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race images are provided by Photographer Carlo Borlenghi. ... [more]  

Images of five faces behind the 100ft super maxis taking part in the 2014 Rolex Sydney to Hobart provided by Photographer Andrea Francolini. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Sailors in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart should watch what they eat on Christmas day or they may well watch Christmas dinner all over again on Boxing Day. ... [more]  

Launched in September 2014, Comanche resulted from the studies realised on the Macif and Banque Populaire Imoca monohulls, who finished first and second in the 2012 Vendée Globe. ... [more]  

We've just returned home after an incredible trip to Rio de Janeiro. It was our first time in the waters of the Olympic venue; an incredibly valuable experience leaving us more excited and even more motivated to push hard these last 600 days leading up to the Olympics. ... [more]  

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta organizers, with the holidays quickly approaching, are getting into the spirit of giving, through their entry giveaway. This campaign was successful for the 2014 regatta to generate some early entries, and event organizers waited this year till the Holiday Season to once again give something back to their participants. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - To Hobart in Style
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race: Ken Read's notes on Comanche
Rolex Sydney Hobart: Rio 100 - A supermaxi is reborn + Video *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race: Video of Team Vestas Wind being removed from reef
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - Holiday gifts for a range of entries!
Entries open for 2015 ORC Championship events
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Levelling the playing field
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race video preview
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - It's a Woman’s world too
Moth Worlds – Looping the loop *Feature
Miami Winter Series - M32 racing gets underway
Rio 2016 - Super-bugs found in Rio sailing waters
Building the bridge from Optimist to Laser and beyond – with Byte C1 *Feature
Kieler Woche - Notices of Race published – entry systems are now open
Adventures of a Sailor Girl: News and interviews from December 22 show
RORC Transatlantic 2014 Race Lanzarote-Grenada - Overall report
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas Wind images from the reef recovery
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas Wind recovered from reef
RORC Transatlantic Race 2014 - Prizegiving
Qingdao to continue as Asian ISAF Sailing World Cup venue
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Will it be Bash and Crash?   
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race: USA's RIO 100 trains off Sydney Heads   
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Weather early Xmas gift for small yachts   
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Hollywood focused on victory   
Soldiering on in the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race   
Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series - Count down to Caribbean opener   
Barcelona World Race 2014-15 - The mental game + Videos   
Rolex Sydney Hobart: Jim Clark's thoughts on Comanche's maiden race *Feature   
St Thomas International Regatta announce sponsors   
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Salt water therapy   
Soto 40 South American Tour - Coming soon   
Flying Dutchman Worlds on Sydney Harbour   
Moth Tutorials - Presented by Nathan Outteridge   
America's Cup: Full CAS report finds both ISAF and de Ridder at fault *Feature   
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – One race many nations   
ORC announces new ORCsy rule for superyachts   
Rob and Scarlet’s big adventure before Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race   
Waypoints of the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race   
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Title defence   
America's Cup: Lawsuit against Oracle Racing lodged in San Francisco *Feature   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT