Special report: Ten years of oil spills

September 23, 2010

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The Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and subsequent oil leak this summer captured urgent intellectual efforts of leading scientists around the world.

Though it was the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, it was not the first oil spill nor will it be the last.

To date, scientific studies and published reports on the topic number in the hundreds of thousands. After two months of sorting these reports, Thomson Reuters’ Science Watch is releasing their findings in an extensive Special Topic report with the  most influential research on oil spills, from remediation (including dispersants) to bioindicators.  Citation data from January 2000 to June 2010 was approached from various angles, and trends and anomalies emerge handily.

Science Watch also launched an interactive map that snapshots key research at over 10 global spill sites, including photos. Another section published graphs that detail key findings of scientific reviews.

Longterm effects of BP’s Macondo blowout and spill that sent close to 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Atlantic ocean this summer are yet to be known. Perhaps the hard scientific research of the past can help researchers probe the questions to alleviate any potential damage in the future.

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