By Lee-Sim Lim
When Iceland and European countries are facing the uncertainties from the eruption of Eyjafjallajöekull, the US is desperately finding solutions to the unexpected oil spill. The incident happened at the night of 20 April 2010 at Gulf of Mexico, due to the blast of one of the BP’s oil rig, which further caused the rig to sunk and lead to the major oil spill.
Since the day the rig submerged, the spill already covered 12km2 and increased to 1500 km2 in a week time. Terry Macalister from the Guardian reported (6 May 2010), that the incident is estimated BP to face at least £15 billion loss. It is indeed a disaster to the company. However, the local societies and ecosystems are actually far more likely to be the long-term victims. It is believed to affect local wildlife and the coastal ecosystems as well as affect local economy which involves tourism.
During this period, the advancement of Geographic Information Science and Systems such as Geoweb enables organisations like NASA as well as the public to monitor and predict the oil spill since 22 April. Geography Compass recently published Dr Paul M. Torrens’ review on the development of one of the computational simulation model class, agent-based models (ABMs) in spatial sciences, which involve its application in improving Geoweb and other behavioural geography technologies.
Based on the federal Mineral Service, there were more than 800 rig related accidents in Gulf of Mexico within the last decade, indicating the area which rich in both the natural resources and some of the US most important ecosystems may turn into disaster without handing their environmental problems carefully.
Graphic source: NASA, 1 May 2010 (http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/oil-creep.html)