Impact Pathway Database for Exploring the Fate and Effects of Hydrocarbons: the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, resulting in a major marine oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A massive response followed to protect beaches, wetlands, and estuaries. One identified need was to consolidate what was known and not known about the fate of hydrocarbons and dispersants, as a means of guiding immediate response work and prioritizing longer term research.
To support this effort, Compass developed an impact pathway database to explore and communicate the potential fate and effects of hydrocarbons on the shoreline, ocean surface, mixing zone, water column and seafloor. This included eliciting expert judgment, documenting potential pathways, developing a database to store information on key uncertainties and current research related to each potential pathway, and providing input on a framework for prioritizing uncertainties.