Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico: A disaster for the local society and ecosystems?

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.

View the Read about how the incident affected the local communities so far at BBC News

Dr Paul M. Torrens’ review on ABMs and Spatial Sciences

View the Read about how the incident affected the local   communities so far at BBC News Tracking the oil spill since 22 April 2010 with CNN

View the Read about how the incident affected the local     communities so far at BBC News Unforeseen impacts of oil slick on the local society, wildlife and ecosystems of Gulf of Mexico

View the Read about how the incident affected the local       communities so far at BBC NewsComparing Deepwater Horizon’s oil spill with the past

View the Read about how the incident affected the local        communities so far at BBC News Read more on how BBC readers concerns when they wait for the news

Graphic source: NASA, 1 May 2010 (http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/oil-creep.html)

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