Gulf Oil Spill Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Transportation - Environmental Issues Type: Essay Paper: #61453098 Related Topics: Oceanography, Atmosphere, Air Pollution, Marine Pollution
Excerpt from Essay :

Gulf Spill

In the wake of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, about thirty percent of the oil, and "the most volatile fraction" of it, evaporated in a period of about ten hours (Handwerk, 2011). This was the primary aerosol emanation Another ten to twenty percent evaporated over the course of the next few days, and those turned into a wide plume of aerosol that was later identified as being comprised of intermediate or semi-volatile organic compounds (Xie, 2011). This secondary aerosol was composed of both light and heavy types of hydrocarbons, which have contributed to air pollution over a wide area (Handwerk, 2011). Ironically, the pattern of aerosol evaporation from the oil spill has advanced scientific understanding of how secondary aerosols form after the initial chemical conversion from their most volatile compounds (Xie, 2011). According to the EPA (2014), in addition to volatile organic compounds, the oil spill released specific compounds like hydrogen sulfide and also coarse particulate matter.

The earth's atmosphere is uniform in composition until 80k, except for the differences in ozone composition in two distinct places: the stratosphere and closer to the surface. Stratospheric ozone exists at 20-30k, and provides a natural barrier between life on earth and ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Close to the surface and within breathing range is ozone accumulation due to volatile carbon-based compounds like those released in the spill...

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Specific injuries included oil inundation of birds, preventing them from being able to fly and therefore feed themselves or avoid predation; the ingestion of oil, leading to poisoning; the weighting down of turtles in oil, and the devastation of corals within a seven mile radius of the spill (National Wildlife Federation, 2014). Longer term impacts are equally as severe including sick dolphins, stranded turtles, and declining fish populations (National Wildlife Federation, 2014).

Cleaning up oil spills like the one by BP involves a number of different processes, depending on the nature of the contamination and the situational and environmental variables. Bioremediation refers to the use of microorganisms, plants, fungi, and natural nutrients to help metabolize the pollutant (Radermacher, n.d.). Although far from ideal, bioremediation can be one tool in the cleanup arsenal. Other methods include the use of booms to contain…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Handwerk, B. (2011). Gulf oil spill helps explain air pollution mystery. National Geographic News. Retrieved online: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110310-gulf-oil-spill-air-pollution-science-nation/

National Wildlife Federation (2014). How Does the BP Oil Spill Impact Wildlife and Habitat? Retrieved online: http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Protect-Habitat/Gulf-Restoration/Oil-Spill/Effects-on-Wildlife.aspx

Radermacher, M. (n.d.). Bioremediation of marine oil spills. Retrieved online: http://home.eng.iastate.edu/~tge/ce421-521/matt-r.pdf

Stewart, R.R. (2005). Atmospheric structure and pollution sources. Retrieved online: Atmospheric Structure and Pollution Sources. Retrieved online: http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/oceanography-book/atmosphere.html
United States Environmental Protection Agency (2014). Air data from the Gulf Coastline. http://www.epa.gov/BPSpill/air.html
"U.S. finalizes offshore drilling rules inspired by BP oil spill." Dallas News. Retrieved online: http://www.dallasnews.com/incoming/20120815-u.s.-finalizes-offshore-drilling-rules-inspired-by-bp-oil-spill.ece
Xie, Y. (2011). Gulf oil spill gives a glimpse into he source of atmospheric aerosols. ARS Technica. Retrieved online: http://arstechnica.com/science/2011/03/oil-spill-provided-opportunity-for-studying-atmospheric-aerosols/


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