Mapping the Gulf Oil Spill

Not long after the BP Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, UT’s Computational Hydraulics Group and Center for Space Research were contacted regarding their expertise in mapping ocean currents and processing satellite imagery. Could the scientists at UT help map the movement of the oil spill?  UT researchers quickly began adapting their knowledge and modeling techniques for hurricane simulations to compute the trajectory of the oil spill for federal agencies. I am continually amazed by the cutting edge work our faculty is producing.

The Texas Advanced Computing Center at UT joined resources with the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security to provide 1 million computing hours on UT’s Ranger supercomputer. Ranger is one of the most powerful computers in the world.

Image: UT Ranger supercomputer

Image: UT Ranger supercomputer

This collaborative research will not only help emergency response teams, it will continue to expand our understanding of the complex currents in the Gulf and the impact of future hurricanes.

The Computational Hydraulics Group, headed by faculty member Clint Dawson, is part of UT’s Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences.  Gordon Wells at CSR heads the satellite imagery team. ICES, CSR and the Ranger supercomputer team are three more reasons to be proud of UT.

Photo: Clint Dawson and Gordon Wells

Image: Clint Dawson and Gordon Wells

For those of you looking for more in-depth information about our scientists’ work on the oil spill, check out “UT Researchers Map Oil Spill Destruction.” Professor Dawson’s video discussion of hurricane modeling and storm simulations is also quite fascinating.

UT is also collaborating with Texas A&M, the University of Houston, Rice, Texas Tech, and SMU in the Gulf Project, a coalition of energy and environmental scientists working with the governor and state agencies to improve testing of energy exploration systems and our response to oil spills.

Bill's Signature

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