Tag Archives: ecosystem concepts

Deepwater Horizon 5 Years Later

Deepwater_Horizon_offshore_drilling_unit_on_fire_2010Five years ago today, firefighters were struggling in vain to extinguish a fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The blowout of the Macondo well caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, killing 11 crewmen and igniting a fireball visible from 40 miles away. On 22 April 2010, Deepwater Horizon sank, leaving the well gushing at the seabed and causing the largest oil spill in U.S. waters. It would be nearly three months before the well could be completely killed, during which time, nearly 5 million barrels of oil spilled into the gulf. Reports from the National Research Council, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and Transportation Research Board provided analysis of the spill and guidance for policy making, health care monitoring, and environmental protection. As part of the legal settlements with the companies held responsible, the federal government has asked the National Academy of Sciences to form and administer a 30-year program to enhance oil system safety, human health, and environmental resources in the Gulf of Mexico and other U.S. continental shelf areas where offshore oil and gas exploration and production occur or are under consideration. Reports from the Gulf Research Program focus on research and development, education and training, and environmental monitoring. All are free to download.

Macondo Well Deepwater Horizon Blowout: Lessons for Improving Offshore Drilling Safety

The blowout of the Macondo well on April 20, 2010, led to enormous consequences for the individuals involved in the drilling operations, and for their families. Eleven workers on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig lost their lives and 16 others …

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An Ecosystem Services Approach to Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

As the Gulf of Mexico recovers from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, natural resource managers face the challenge of understanding the impacts of the spill and setting priorities for restoration work. The full value of losses resulting from the …

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Assessing the Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human Health: A Summary of the June 2010 Workshop

From the origin of the leak, to the amount of oil released into the environment, to the spill’s duration, the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill poses unique challenges to human health. The risks associated with extensive, prolonged use of …

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Transportation Research Board Special Report 309: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Offshore Safety and Environmental Management Systems

TRB Special Report 309: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Offshore Safety and Environmental Management Systems recommends that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) take a holistic approach to evaluating the …

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Gulf Research Program: A Strategic Vision

In 2010 the Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, resulting in significant impacts on the region’s environment and residents. Legal settlements with the …

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Opportunities for the Gulf Research Program: Community Resilience and Health: Summary of a Workshop

There are many connections between human communities and their surrounding environments that influence community resilience and health in the Gulf of Mexico. The impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Gulf communities and ecosystems …

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Opportunities for the Gulf Research Program: Monitoring Ecosystem Restoration and Deep Water Environments: A Workshop Summary

Environmental monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico poses extensive challenges and significant opportunities. Multiple jurisdictions manage this biogeographically and culturally diverse region, whose monitoring programs tend to be project-specific by …

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Opportunities for the Gulf Research Program: Middle-Skilled Workforce Needs: Summary of a Workshop

During the period 1990 to 2010, U.S. job growth occurred primarily in the high-skilled and low-skilled sectors. Yet, one-third of projected job growth for the period 2010-2020 will require middle-skilled workers — who will earn strong …

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New Books: Health, Water Management, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and more

It’s Monday, so we’re doing our usual roundup of the publications that were new to the nap.edu catalog in the last week. As with many of our publications, all of the new publications this week have PDFs available to download for free.

Featured Publication

Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Methods to Support International Climate Agreements (prepublication)


The world’s nations are moving toward agreements that will bind us together in an effort to limit future greenhouse gas emissions. With such agreements will come the need for all nations to make accurate estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor changes over time. In this context, the present book focuses on the greenhouse gases that result from human activities, have long lifetimes in the atmosphere and thus will change global climate for decades to millennia or more, and are currently included in international agreements. The book devotes considerably more space to CO2 than to the other gases because CO2 is the largest single contributor to global climate change and is thus the focus of many mitigation efforts. Only data in the public domain were considered because public access and transparency are necessary to build trust in a climate treaty.

The book concludes that each country could estimate fossil-fuel CO2 emissions accurately enough to support monitoring of a climate treaty. However, current methods are not sufficiently accurate to check these self-reported estimates against independent data or to estimate other greenhouse gas emissions. Strategic investments would, within 5 years, improve reporting of emissions by countries and yield a useful capability for independent verification of greenhouse gas emissions reported by countries.

All New Publications This Week

Informing the Future: Critical Issues in Health, Fifth Edition (final)

A Scientific Assessment of Alternatives for Reducing Water Management Effects on Threatened and Endangered Fishes in California’s Bay Delta (prepublication)

Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals: Volume 8 (final)

Medical Surge Capacity: Workshop Summary (final)

Ecosystem Concepts for Sustainable Bivalve Mariculture (final)

The Rise of Games and High Performance Computing for Modeling and Simulation (final)

Understanding Climate’s Influence on Human Evolution (final)

Review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft IRIS Assessment of Tetrachloroethylene (final)