Deep Science

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UM is the lead institution on a major multicenter research study that seeks to amplify understanding of the BP oil spill.

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The Rosenstiel School’s 96-foot research vessel is helping scientists track the path of oil plumes in the Gulf.

Ripple Effects
The effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest offshore spill in U.S. history, continue to ripple through the regional environment. In an effort to mitigate these effects and more effectively address future such occurrences, a major research consortium led by the University of Miami has been created.

Armed with $112.5 million from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI), the new Consortium for Advanced Research on the Transport of Hydrocarbons in the Environment (CARTHE) will investigate the fate and impact of petroleum in the environment and develop new tools and technology for responding to future spills and improving methods of mitigation and restoration.

CARTHE’s 26 principal investigators (13 of whom are associated with UM) are tasked with determining what happened to the estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico and ascertaining the resulting environmental damage. The consortium’s efforts will also guide risk management and response efforts to minimize damage to human health, the economy, and the ecosystem. UM’s portion of the three-year grant is $15.3 million.

Oceanographic “Moon Mission”
“The Deepwater Horizon oil spill demands many types of modelers, observational scientists, biologists, and chemists working together to unravel what really happened,” says Tamay Özgökmen, professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and lead investigator for the consortium. “This event is like the Moon Mission for oceanography—an important and challenging problem with immediate social impact.”

In addition to UM, CARTHE partner institutions include City University of New York - Staten Island, Florida International University, Florida State University, Naval Postgraduate School, Naval Research Laboratory, Nova Southeastern University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Tulane University, University of Arizona, University of Delaware, and University of Texas at Austin.

The GRI is an independent body established by BP with $500 million in the aftermath of the oil spill.

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