Marine Weather Monitoring
R/V Pelican operating in the Gulf of Mexico by LUMCON
Magellan Weather Station participates in Gulf oil spill monitoring efforts
In one of it's most critical missions to date, the Magellan Weather Station monitored weather conditions as scientists aboard the R/V Pelican research vessel discovered large plumes of oil in the Gulf of Mexico -- a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill catastrophe.
The Magellan Weather Station provides weather data aboard the Pelican. With its internal compass and rugged metal construction, the Magellan is well-suited to mobile weather monitoring.
Originally a NOAA*-sponsored ocean mission set to explore for deep sea corals, the cruise was redirected to collect seafloor and water column data from areas near the Gulf of Mexico oil spill source, according to the US government's official website for Deepwater Horizon Response.
"This sampling mission is one of many NOAA responses to the oil spill," said Craig McLean, acting assistant administrator for NOAA Research. "It fills an important gap in researching the interaction of spilled oil and the ocean environment. The samples will help us better understand affected ocean resources."
The samples, expected to provide a baseline on the abundant marine organisms and the presence of chemicals in ocean water and sediments, revealed the presence of large plumes of oil beneath the surface. The New York Times reported that the plumes were "discovered by scientists from several universities working aboard the R/V Pelican, which sailed from Cocodrie, La., on May 3 and has gathered extensive samples and information about the disaster in the gulf."
When interviewed for the article, Vernon Asper of the University of Southern Mississippi, said the shallowest oil plume the group had detected was at about 2,300 feet, while the deepest was near the seafloor at about 4,200 feet. He also reported that they had taken water samples from areas that oil had not yet reached, and would compare those with later samples to judge the impact on the chemistry and biology of the ocean.
The R/V Pelican is operated by LUMCON, the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. Formed in 1979, LUMCON provides coastal laboratory facilities to Louisiana universities, and conducts research and educational programs in the marine sciences. The Magellan Weather Station is listed with the scientific equipment aboard the Pelican.
On May 28, news agencies reported that efforts to constrain the oil leak have been successful. Holly Hebert, LUMCON's public information specialist, commented to CWS, "Hopefully the gushing has stopped and we can really do some research on the environmental impacts. Keep your fingers crossed that some day we will be able to get another research vessel. The Pelican is booked solid until December."
*NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at http://www.noaa.gov or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/noaa.lubchenco."Back to top