Santa Barbara Oil Spill


Photo by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Another oil spill hit the headlines:

Santa Barbara Oil Spill: Crews Race to Contain Estimated 21,000 Gallons

CARTHE director, Tamay Özgökmen, took a moment to consider the impacts of this event and compare this coastal spill to the deepwater, offshore spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

“Most of the social-economic impact from oil spills takes place when the oil hits the beaches. In some oil spills, like the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the source is hundreds of miles from the shore and deep in the water, so there is time to optimize a response. This is similar to hurricane forecasting, in terms of your time to prepare.

In other oil spills, like the one in Santa Barbara, the source is right near the shore, and the impact is immediate. This is more like a tornado, in which there is hardly any opportunity to take cover.

This incident shows that oil spills come in a large variety, and despite all the care, they still happen and pose a danger to our beaches and sea life.”

We will continue our work to understand how oil moves throughout the open ocean as well as long the coast, in order to minimize the effects of all varieties of oil spills.