RPI scientists Zachary Nixon, Scott Zengel, Jacqui Michel, and their co-authors just published a new study quantifying shoreline oiling exposure from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Their article, entitled “Shoreline oiling from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill”, has just been published in Marine Pollution Bulletin. The paper describes a comprehensive database of shoreline oiling from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) spill, assembled from field survey and remote sensing sources. These data are a key component of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) and restoration planning process. Highlights include:

  • The database documents oiling along 2,113 km out of 9,545 km of surveyed shoreline
  • This revised estimate represents an increase of 19% from previously published estimates, and suggests that the DWH spill was the largest marine oil spill in history by length of shoreline oiled.
  • Shoreline oiling was categorized by more ecologically relevant exposure classes that integrate both intensity and persistence of oiling over time.

The open access article is available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X16302016.  The database may be viewed and downloaded from NOAA’s ERMA® Deepwater Gulf Response mapping application here. This article is also featured in a recent National Geographic news story.