Air Samples from Summer 2010 Show low molecular weight PAH distributions similar to Deepwater Horizon oil spill
For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that we went to the Gulf of Mexico last summer to collect air and water samples. Well, the analyses of last year's samples are complete and here is what we have to say. First, the PAH distribution pattern for the BP oil from the DWH oil slick is distinct from other oil seeps we analyzed in the Gulf of Mexico. Second, the PAH distributions across the environmental samples collected from the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 are visually comparable and similar across the Gulf Coast region. Lastly, the environmental samples are enriched in low molecular weight PAH compounds.
Our PAH analyses suggests that there is a "fingerprint" of the PAHs from the Deepwater Horzion riser oil (see image). We're presently working on a paper in which we document the presence of that fingerprint in zooplankton collected from the Gulf of Mexico in September 2010.
The field work designed to collect baseline samples for the NSF RAPID project began on July 19th 2010. Jim Watson, my trusty sidekick, and I were "locked and loaded", ready to begin sampling the atmosphere in the Gulf Coast states.