Effects of Mexico Oil spill as the result of ocean current movement

Topics: Ocean current, Ocean, Oil spill Pages: 7 (1969 words) Published: February 11, 2014
Effects of Mexico Oil spill as the result of ocean current movement The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. On or about April 20, 2010, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deep-water Horizon, which was being used to drill a well for BP Exploration and Production, in the Macondo prospect, experienced an explosion, leading to a fire and its subsequent sinking in the Gulf of Mexico. This incident resulted in discharges of oil and other substances from the rig and the submerged wellhead into the Gulf of Mexico1.

The harm of the oil spill to the environment is tremendous mainly due to three reasons: the large amount and long time period of spill oil, the complex and diverse gulf ecosystem and the role of currents in transporting the oil to a large area in the ocean. An estimated 5 million barrels (210 million gallons) of oil were subsequently released from the well over a period of approximately three months. In addition, approximately 771,000 gallons of dispersants5 were applied to the waters of the spill area in an attempt to minimize impacts from spilled oil2. The complex and diverse ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico is another important reason why the oil spill will have such a serious influence on these coastal areas. The complexity and diversity means that there are a lot of connections of different kinds of species through the food webs, as well as a close relationship between variety types of habitats.

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Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Trustees, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Draft Phase II--Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Review
2 Deepwater

Horizon Natural Resource Trustees, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Draft Phase I--Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Review
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First, for the food webs, such diversity makes the toxic of the plume can easily enter the food webs, being transported and accumulated in the body of many species, leading to a larger amount of death or sickness. This not only greatly threatens the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico, but also has a negative influence on the economy of the near shore cities. The natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico– water, fish, reefs, marshes, oil and gas – are the economic engine of the region. The Gulf of Mexico is likewise vitally important to the entire nation as a bountiful source of food, energy and recreation3, which makes the impact related to a larger regional area. Then, for the interconnections of different habitats, the damages to one type of the habitats may bring changes to other habitats’ ecosystem, too. In the large areas of the Gulf of Mexico, the coastline of which extends across Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, there are a variety of coastal and marine habitats, including wetlands, barrier islands, beaches, sea grass beds, and coral and oyster reefs3. Each of the habitats is essential to the survival of certain kinds of species, including some endangered species like the Hawksbill sea turtles and small tooth sawfishes. What’s more, the close connection between each of these habitats makes the harm to one of them can be enlarged greatly. For example, intertidal wetlands and other near shore habitats provide foraging and nesting habitats for the numerous species of birds using the Mississippi Flyway, one of the most important migratory bird flyways in the world 4. The loss of wetlands will lead to the decrease of the birds, which will also influence the balance of the ecosystem of other habitats such bird will stay during their migration. However, without the ocean currents, the large amount of the spill oil and the complex ecosystem will only make a relatively small area of the gulf suffering from the serious influence 3

Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Trustees, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Draft Phase II--Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Review
4 Gulf

Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, Final PEA, 2006
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of the oil spill. It is the moving ocean...
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