The Vertical upwelling and bottom-boundary layer dispersal at a natural seep site project is lead by P.I. Daniela Di Iorio, University of Georgia.
The physical understanding of the vertical upwelling velocity and bottom boundary layer dispersal of a hydrocarbon seep in the Gulf of Mexico is extremely limited due to paucity of direct long-term measurements and to the time variability of the bubble plumes and boundary layer dynamics. This project is proposing to measure the vertical upwelling velocities of hydrocarbons from sea floor gas hydrates using novel acoustic forward scatter instrumentation and to improve our understanding of dispersal processes in the bottom boundary layer by making time-series measurements of 3-D velocity and hydrographic properties near a natural seep in the northern Gulf of Mexico. More specifically, we aim to 1) measure the vertical upwelling velocity of a natural hydrocarbon seep at GC600 or GC185 and its role in vertical transport of methane and oil to the surface and 2) investigate the turbulent bottom boundary layer dynamics that causes horizontal and vertical dispersal, including resuspension of hydrocarbon-containing deposits.
This project was funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) in the RFP-V funding program.
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies. An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research. All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available. The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. For more information, visit http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/.