The Deepwater Horizon oil spill trajectory hindcast/forecast based on Global HYCOM

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This is an effort to track the Deepwater Horizon (Macondo well, designated by the red circle) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after the oil rig explosion on April 20, 2010. Drifter trajectories were calculated based on the daily surface currents from the HYCOM + NCODA Global Analysis (data assimilative numerical ocean model hindcast & forecast). Particles were released from the sunken rig site every three hours since 05/04/2010 18:00 UTC, assuming continuous oil spill from the well. The initial locations of the drifters were taken from satellite remotely sensed oil slick patches at that time. The particles (difters) are shown as black dots, and their trajectries in magenta. Sea surface temperature (color contours, units in deg C) was superimposed with the surface current vectors to indicate the surface ocean circulation. The velocity data were subsampled every the third grid points in both east and north directions for better visulization.

EOS feature article:

Liu, Y., R.H. Weisberg, C. Hu, and L. Zheng, 2011: Tracking the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: A modeling perspective, EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 92(6), 45-46, doi: 10.1029/2011EO060001. New!

Reminder: This page will be updated daily, and the oil spill tracking/prediction may be updated several times a day during the emergency period. Please refresh your web browser each time to make sure what you see are the latest updates.


This is an on-going joint effort from the Ocean Circulation Group and the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, and the results are provided as is. The OCG & OOL do not warrant that the simulated drifter trajectories fit for any particular purpose. Further, neither OCG nor OOL guarantee availability, updates or timely online delivery.

Questions or comments? Please send email to Dr. Robert H. Weisberg or Dr. Yonggang Liu. Visit Dr. Yonggang Liu's research page.

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