EPS Seminar Series: Dr. Collin Ward

Friday, April 12, 2024 12:00to13:00

Dr. Collin Ward 

Associate Scientist, Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


Friday, April 12

12:00 pm 

FDA 232 or

on Zoom https://mcgill.zoom.us/j/85639557142?pwd=ZVF1VmxnWVhjV2EvNzlGWmI0VDE3UT09



Towards a more predictive understanding of the sunlight-driven weathering of oil spilled at sea.



Photochemical oxidation (photo-oxidation) of crude oil spilled at sea has been studied for over half a century. However, prior to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, photo-oxidation was widely considered a secondary weathering process that impacted a small fraction of spilled oil. Accordingly, photo-oxidation was not included in oil spill fate and trajectory models and response operations. In this talk, I’ll describe several key findings related to the rates, pathways, controls, and impacts of crude oil photo-oxidation during the Deepwater Horizon spill. These findings have collectively changed the perspective of photochemical weathering in the oil spill sciences, leading to its inclusion in oil spill models and increased consideration during response operations. I’ll conclude with a discussion about the role sunlight may play during future oil spills, including spills in colder, high-latitude waters where risks are increasing because of global climate change. 

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