Gulf Oil Spill Resources

The Deepwater Horizon Spill

After the April 20th explosion on Deepwater Horizon off-shore exploration well, thousands of gallons of crude oil leaked from the seafloor each day. A combination of floating barriers, chemical dispersants and controlled burns were used to mitigate and control the spill. The spill continues to threaten Gulf of Mexico wildlife and fisheries; the Gulf of Mexico is a popular spot for recreational fishermen, with over 24 million fishing trips taken in 2008. Fourteen percent of America’s commercial landings (over a billion pounds of finfish and shellfish annually) come out of the Gulf of Mexico, where three of America’s top six commercial fishing ports are located.

Please visit the following links for more information about the incident and how it may affect your community:

Earth Gauge Resources

Gulf Oil Spill Webinar: Impacts to Coastal Ecosystems

The Gulf oil spill may have ended, but the after effects have just begun. How are wetland plants, animals and soils being affected by lingering oil? What current research is being done to monitor and remediate these impacts? In fall, 2010, University of Alabama researchers Dr. Patricia Sobecky and Dr. Behzad Mortazavi answered these questions and more during an Earth Gauge webinar for broadcast meteorologists. View the archived webinar.

Gulf Oil Spill Fact Sheets

Earth Gauge’s Gulf Oil Spill series focuses on unique topics related to the Gulf of Mexico and the affects of the 2010 oil spill. All fact sheets, images and videos are freely available for use on-air.

  • Impacts on Wetland Plants (.pdf file): Learn about some impacts of oil on coastal wetlands that have been observed through lab experiments and observation during and after oil spills.
  • Biodegradation of Oil (.pdf file): Learn about the role tiny microbes play in the breakdown of oil in the ocean.
  • Effects on Invertebrates (.pdf file): Scientists are only beginning to understand how the Gulf oil spill has impacted invertebrates – animals without backbones. Studies from past oil spills have demonstrated that there are a variety of possible effects, which are discussed in this fact sheet.
  • Mississippi Watershed and Hypoxia (.pdf file): Every summer, a “dead zone” (area with low or no oxygen, also known as hypoxia) forms in the Northern Gulf from excess nutrients and pollutants that drain into it from the Mississippi River watershed – the largest watershed in the United States.
    • Related b-roll video (29 MB Quicktime file includes NASA animation of the Mississippi River Watershed and various images related to storm water runoff and water pollution)

Other Earth Gauge Resources

  • If you live in the Mississippi River Watershed, you don’t even need to travel beyond your driveway to help the Gulf!
  • Earth Gauge Kids – Gulf of Mexico Theme
  • Facts about the Gulf of Mexico

NEEF Resources


For Kids/Educators

Current Status and General Information

Ocean Current Forecasts

Health Impacts


(Sources: National Ocean Service, NOAA. 2008. Gulf of Mexico at a Glance. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Deepwater Horizon Response: Correction: Update: 14 Deepwater Horizon Update. 1 May 2010. Accessed Online 3 May 2010 and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “NOAA Closes Commercial and Recreational Fishing in Oil-Affected Portion of Gulf of Mexico” 2 May 2010. Accessed Online 3 May 2010 )

Bookmark and Share