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Quantification of Stokes Drift as a Mechanism for Surface Oil Advection in the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Title: Quantification of Stokes Drift as a Mechanism for Surface Oil Advection in the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Name(s): Clark, Matthew, 1984-, author
Bourassa, Mark Allan, professor co-directing thesis
Chassignet, Eric P., professor co-directing thesis
Hart, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1972-, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Arts and Sciences, degree granting college
Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2015
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
Physical Form: online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (35 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Wave-driven transport, also known as Stokes drift, is the motion of a particle due to the orbital motion induced by a passing wave. This orbital motion does not form closed loops, leading to a net displacement over a single wave period. Stokes drift has previously been qualitatively shown to be a factor in ocean surface particle transport, with most studies focused exclusively in near-shore regions. However, Stokes drift has never been quantified beyond theoretical studies and case studies limited to small regions. Here, Stokes drift is calculated directly from Wavewatch III model data in the Gulf of Mexico for April-July 2010. Its magnitudes are compared between deep and shelf water areas, and against the magnitudes of surface currents and parameterized wind drift. These comparisons are also made specifically for the time period surrounding the passage of Hurricane Alex through the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. While there is not a major difference between the absolute magnitudes of Stokes drift in shelf vs. deep water areas or when compared to wind drift, Stokes drift is larger in shelf water areas relative to surface currents than in deep water. During Hurricane Alex, Stokes drift magnitudes were much larger in the immediate area of the storm, while in the oil spill area there was little change until after the storm was out of the Gulf, at which time swell had propagated into the region, increasing Stokes drift magnitudes.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-9576 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Degree Awarded: Summer Semester 2015.
Date of Defense: June 30, 2015.
Keywords: Gulf of Mexico, Oil spill, Stokes drift
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Mark Bourassa, Professor Co-Directing Thesis; Eric Chassignet, Professor Co-Directing Thesis; Robert Hart, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Oceanography
Atmospheric sciences
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Owner Institution: FSU