Today at Berkeley Lab

Lab Visualization Helps Improve Modeling of Oil Dispersion in Gulf of Mexico

The 2010 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig caused crude oil to spew into the Gulf of Mexico every day for nearly three months. At the time, several computer models predicted that ocean currents would eventually carry this oil thousands of miles across the Atlantic seaboard—a scenario that could devastate economies and ecosystems. But when these forecasts didn’t pan out, scientists realized that their computer models were missing some critical information. Using visualization software developed for the fusion energy research community by computer scientists at Berkeley Lab, oceanographers found that they needed to factor in the interactions between deep, middle and surface ocean currents to successfully track oil dispersion in the Gulf of Mexico. More>

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