The Deepwater Horizon oil spill alone presented a potentially devastating environmental and economic threat to the northern Gulf of Mexico region. Unfortunately, an additional threat loomed as the summer of 2010 marched on and hurricane season became more active. In late June and early July, the oil that had remained offshore for the most part, began washing up on beaches and salt marshes from Louisiana to Florida. Scientists at Mississippi State University (MSU) largely attribute this inundation of oil to two strong weather systems and are developing models to help predict where and how oil moves in light of such climatic conditions.
Classroom Activity: Hurricane Tracking
Hurricanes, known by scientists as tropical cyclones, are extreme meteorological events. They can bring strong winds, heavy rain, cause widespread flooding and even spawn tornadoes. In this activity students will learn about tropical cyclones, how and where they develop, and plot one using historical data.