Air quality implications of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Ann M. Middlebrook, Daniel M. Murphy, Ravan Ahmadov, Elliot L Atlas, Roya Bahreini, Donald R. Blake, Jerome Brioude, Joost A. De Gouw, Fred C. Fehsenfeld, Gregory J. Frost, John S. Holloway, Daniel A. Lack, Justin M. Langridge, Rich A. Lueb, Stuart A. McKeen, James F. Meagher, Simone Meinardi, J. Andrew Neuman, John B. Nowak, David D. ParrishJeff Peischl, Anne E. Perring, Ilana B. Pollack, James M. Roberts, Thomas B. Ryerson, Joshua P. Schwarz, J. Ryan Spackman, Carsten Warneke, A. R. Ravishankara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill, a wide range of gas and aerosol species were measured from an aircraft around, downwind, and away from the DWH site. Additional hydrocarbon measurements were made from ships in the vicinity. Aerosol particles of respirable sizes were on occasions a significant air quality issue for populated areas along the Gulf Coast. Yields of organic aerosol particles and emission factors for other atmospheric pollutants were derived for the sources from the spill, recovery, and cleanup efforts. Evaporation and subsequent secondary chemistry produced organic particulate matter with a mass yield of 8 ± 4% of the oil mixture reaching the water surface. Approximately 4% by mass of oil burned on the surface was emitted as soot particles. These yields can be used to estimate the effects on air quality for similar events as well as for this spill at other times without these data. Whereas emission of soot from burning surface oil was large during the episodic burns, the mass flux of secondary organic aerosol to the atmosphere was substantially larger overall. We use a regional air quality model to show that some observed enhancements in organic aerosol concentration along the Gulf Coast were likely due to the DWH spill. In the presence of evaporating hydrocarbons from the oil, NOx emissions from the recovery and cleanup operations produced ozone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20280-20285
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume109
Issue number50
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 11 2012

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Petroleum Pollution
Aerosols
Air
Soot
Oils
Organic Chemistry
Mineral Oil
Particulate Matter
Ships
Aircraft
Ozone
Hydrocarbons
Atmosphere
Burns
Particle Size
Gases
Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Middlebrook, A. M., Murphy, D. M., Ahmadov, R., Atlas, E. L., Bahreini, R., Blake, D. R., ... Ravishankara, A. R. (2012). Air quality implications of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(50), 20280-20285. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1110052108

Air quality implications of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. / Middlebrook, Ann M.; Murphy, Daniel M.; Ahmadov, Ravan; Atlas, Elliot L; Bahreini, Roya; Blake, Donald R.; Brioude, Jerome; De Gouw, Joost A.; Fehsenfeld, Fred C.; Frost, Gregory J.; Holloway, John S.; Lack, Daniel A.; Langridge, Justin M.; Lueb, Rich A.; McKeen, Stuart A.; Meagher, James F.; Meinardi, Simone; Neuman, J. Andrew; Nowak, John B.; Parrish, David D.; Peischl, Jeff; Perring, Anne E.; Pollack, Ilana B.; Roberts, James M.; Ryerson, Thomas B.; Schwarz, Joshua P.; Spackman, J. Ryan; Warneke, Carsten; Ravishankara, A. R.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 109, No. 50, 11.12.2012, p. 20280-20285.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Middlebrook, AM, Murphy, DM, Ahmadov, R, Atlas, EL, Bahreini, R, Blake, DR, Brioude, J, De Gouw, JA, Fehsenfeld, FC, Frost, GJ, Holloway, JS, Lack, DA, Langridge, JM, Lueb, RA, McKeen, SA, Meagher, JF, Meinardi, S, Neuman, JA, Nowak, JB, Parrish, DD, Peischl, J, Perring, AE, Pollack, IB, Roberts, JM, Ryerson, TB, Schwarz, JP, Spackman, JR, Warneke, C & Ravishankara, AR 2012, 'Air quality implications of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 109, no. 50, pp. 20280-20285. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1110052108
Middlebrook, Ann M. ; Murphy, Daniel M. ; Ahmadov, Ravan ; Atlas, Elliot L ; Bahreini, Roya ; Blake, Donald R. ; Brioude, Jerome ; De Gouw, Joost A. ; Fehsenfeld, Fred C. ; Frost, Gregory J. ; Holloway, John S. ; Lack, Daniel A. ; Langridge, Justin M. ; Lueb, Rich A. ; McKeen, Stuart A. ; Meagher, James F. ; Meinardi, Simone ; Neuman, J. Andrew ; Nowak, John B. ; Parrish, David D. ; Peischl, Jeff ; Perring, Anne E. ; Pollack, Ilana B. ; Roberts, James M. ; Ryerson, Thomas B. ; Schwarz, Joshua P. ; Spackman, J. Ryan ; Warneke, Carsten ; Ravishankara, A. R. / Air quality implications of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2012 ; Vol. 109, No. 50. pp. 20280-20285.
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