Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography

2010 Fall Seminar Series


Piers Chapman
Texas A&M University

Monday, October 25, 2010
3:30 PM
Room 3200, Innovation Research Park Building I


The British Petroleum (BP) well blowout in April 2010 released about 700,00 tons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The attempts to shut the well and the resulting cleanup operations required the services of over 40,000 people and an armada of boats, and there are still arguments about how much oil remains in the environment. But was the accident the disaster people feared, that would lead to the loss of life in a large portion of the Gulf? As in all spills, luck played a part; there were no hurricanes in the Gulf during the cleanup period. Results suggest we have not seen the predicted large drawdown of dissolved oxygen concentrations, and the amount of oiling of the shoreline is relatively minor. However, effects on fisheries will likely not be known for several years.


Piers Chapman is currently professor and head of the Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M University. After gaining a B.S. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Marine Chemistry from the University College of North Wales, Bangor, he spent two years researching the chemistry of the sea surface microlayer and then a year in the U.K. water industry before moving to South Africa. After 12 years in Cape Town, working on marine pollution (including several oil spills) and the oceanography of the Benguela and Agulhas Current regimes, he ran the U.S. WOCE Office at Texas A&M, before moving to Louisiana State University to run a program on coastal restoration science for NOAA. He is presently working on the hypoxia problem in the Gulf of Mexico.

Reception before seminar at 3:00 PM

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