The immediate aftermath of oil spill can be a very important time for the responders. Yet, how we should respond exactly? On the 1st day after an accidental oil spill, the fate of oil is not yet understood, but now, some light has been shed by the scientists on the process by which responders can be helped in the future.
For better understanding of what exactly happens after the occurrence of oil spill, collaboration of researchers and emergency response specialists was seen for recreating a 4 cubic meter oil spill in North Sea, in a shipping zone, that was already burdened with pollutants.
This small release was studied in depth by the scientists and they watched the response of oil to changing conditions. At the end, it is believed by them that the findings can be applied to larger oil spills.
Following an oil spill, the oil finds itself in a completely new environment. It has been exposed to water, air and light after millions of years underground. Therefore, a chemical reaction taking place is not surprising.
One of the researchers, Samuel Arey said that in a new environment, the composition of oil is immediately changed and most of this change is seen on the 1st day itself. Oil is a complex mixture of several hydrocarbon compounds. Evaporation of various volatile compounds is seen within just hours, thus, bringing about a contamination in the overlying atmosphere.
Others tend to remain in water and have the capability of dissolving, thus posing a great threat to aquatic life. With the help of a computer model, the data which was collected from this spill was used by researchers for making it applicable to larger spills.
The findings are very important in order to plan emergency responses of oil spills in future.