Scientists predict how oil from Deepwater Horizon spill will spread

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Washington, Sept 3 (ANI): A UC Santa Barbara scientist has come up with a new method of predicting how contaminants like oil from Deepwater Horizon spill would spread.

"We predicted where the oil was going to go," said Igor Mezic.

"We were able to do 3-day predictions pretty accurately," he added.

Mezic, Sophie Loire and colleagues at the software development company Aimdyn, Inc. in Santa Barbara and at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, generated frequent forecasts of the movement of the spill and passed them on to those involved in the cleanup.

Mezic and his colleagues successfully predicted where and when oil washed ashore in the Mississippi River Delta and later, on the white-sand beaches of Pensacola, Florida, and they forecast that the spill would then move east toward Panama City Beach.

The solution was based on computations that describe how slicks of oil tend to be stretched into filaments by motion at the sea surface. To make that possible, the researchers incorporated forecasts of sea surface conditions from a U.S. Navy model.

Mezic said that his method could also be applied to other contaminants such as ash spewed out of an erupting volcano or warm air seeping into a climate-controlled building.

The paper is published online Sept. 2 in Science Express. (ANI)

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