Deepwater Horizon Oil could have naturally reached Texas beaches
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Following the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) spill, oil residues were found in all five Gulf states of the United States (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida). However, only a small amount was found in Texas, leading to speculation that it may have arrived there via ship through bilge water instead of naturally via currents. We report on a numerical modeling effort to simulate surface drifters during and after the DWH spill to demonstrate that surface water parcels - and therefore oil carried by those parcels - could reasonably have reached Texas waters at the appropriate time and location from known oiled locations without human interference. We additionally give context for the conditions in 2010 through a study of summer connectivity with the Galveston Bay coastline, which shows that in some years oil from the DWH pipe likely would not have reached Texas.
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