What would you do if 13,000 barrels of oil were to arrive at your shore within 10 hours? That's one of the questions asked at NOAA's Spill Tools site. Spill Tools was created for oil spill planners and responders who need to assess what actions to take when confronted with oil heading their way. We're welcome to download and use the tools, too.
The Spill Tools:
- Dispersant Mission Planner
- In Situ Burn Calculator
- Mechanical Equipment Calculator
are free to download and use.
Here is more information on each Spill Tool:
Dispersant Mission Planner
In this exercise, you'll estimate whether you have the resources to
treat the slick with chemical dispersant and, if so, how long it would
take. You have a single Bell 212 helicopter (a small, twin-engine
helicopter) to apply the dispersant. The helicopter base is 20
kilometers away from the location of the slick.
(view an example of the Dispersant Mission Planner)
In Situ Burn Calculator
In Part 1 of this step, you'll estimate the time
needed to burn part of the slick. For equipment, you have two vessels
that you can use to tow fire-proof boom in order to capture and burn
part of the oil from the slick. In Part 2, you'll
estimate the extent of the smoke plume generated by the burn, and
determine whether it might pose a hazard to people downwind of the burn.
(view an example of the In Situ Burn Calculator)
The Mechanical Equipment Calculator
In this step of the Spill Tools exercise, you'll estimate how much of
the spilled oil you could skim off the sea surface during the time
remaining before the oil is predicted to reach the sensitive site. You
have on hand a single, small skimmer vessel, a Sandpiper (skimmers are
boats and other devices that can remove oil from the sea surface before
it reaches sensitive areas along a coastline).
(view an example of the Mechanical Equipment Calculator)
Learn more about the NOAA Spill tools by visiting their Information Page.
Grade Level: I think the Spill Tools are at a high school to college level, although middle school students may enjoy the challenge, too.
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