Semester of Graduation

Summer 2023


Master of Science (MS)


Oceanography and Coastal Sciences

Document Type



Although the ecological devastations induced by an oil spill are well studied, the hydrometeorological impacts from a long-term slick have gone unnoticed. The ocean-surface alterations stemming from the lasting oil footprint increase solar radiation absorption which in turn alters the surface pressure and moisture gradients and wind speeds thereby influencing precipitation surrounding the oil spill. Revealing the potential impacts from these could better aid in the safety of crews cleaning spills and provide a better understanding of how humans alter the landscape. This thesis examines the changes in local hydrometeorology brought on by the 2010 summer Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill. Five Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) 4.2 simulations are utilized to establish potential impacts on pressure, wind, cloud fraction, and precipitation through the elevation of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) based on the oil slick footprint.

During the time period of the simulations, the experimental scenarios experience an increase in 2-meter dewpoint temperatures and a decrease in sea level pressure (SLP) based on the strength of the elevated SSTs and implementation of the oil footprint. Additionally, the experimental scenarios display a greater amount of cloud fractions compared to the control by more than 10% at the middle and high levels and fewer cloud fractions by more than -10% at the low level. Roughly 300mm of greater experimental precipitation accumulation occurred across the portion of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) within the inner domain, implying that the alterations made within the scenarios influence the spatial and temporal patterns of precipitation.



Committee Chair

Miller, Paul