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Dodging disasters: Model to forecast movement of oil spills and volcanic ash

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With the growing oil needs of the planet it seems only natural that the frequency of ocean liners carrying crude oil meeting with an accident has gone up in the last couple of decades. And with it the very real danger of oil spills that spread at an alarming rate and cause irrevocable damage to ocean ecosystems and marine life. But the latest method of mathematical projections developed by Josefina Olascoaga of University of Miami and George Haller of the McGill University offer us a chance to combat such disasters far more effectively by predicting the rate and movement of oil spills.

Mathematical methods help predict movement of oil and ash following environmental disasters.

And the added bonus of this new mathematical method is that since ash in air moves pretty much the same way as oil on water, the same model can be use to project affected areas after a volcanic eruption. The new method for the prediction of movement of oil on ocean surface and volcanic ash in atmosphere come with the amalgamation of Olascoaga’s computational techniques with Haller’s theory for predicting the movement of particles in oil spills.

While traditionally the response to such disasters has been found wanting, with this latest method one can expect faster and more prepared action against two unexpected environmental disasters. While previous prediction models only took the macro factors into account such as broad wind patterns and general ocean currents, the new method prescribed by Olascoaga and Haller take into account even the local factors, micro variants and seasonal changes to ensure accuracy.

But volcanic ash and oil spills can wreck havoc killing wildlife at an alarming pace. Infamous oil spills of the past have left us with haunting images and this latest method, if at the disposal of environmentalists, could help us avert repetition of such ghastly images. The obvious advantage of the method is that it not only tracks but accurately predicts, giving us ample time for planning and in some instances evacuation.

Via: Physorg

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