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Oil Spill Mapping

2009/03/25

The Living Oceans Society has put up an oil spill modeling site that is basically a Flash viewer showing the potential impact of oil spills from several scenarios along the Alaska/Canada coast. It’s not very heavy on the GIS (the white-capped mountains and lovely little cottages kind of give that away), but you can choose the habitats you’d like to view (in this image, it’s the seabirds and marine mammals). Pick on a potential oil spill and let the fun begin.

oilspill_model

The animation shows the predicted and potential areas over some time period. That is one of the issues – you can’t stop the animation. But they more than make up for that with the images and text describing the impacts. The fact that the potential oil spill “targets” bob up and down like there’s some wave action is a nice touch. That and the little birds flying across the screen.

Seeing the intersections of the sensitive habitats and the predicted oil spill is even more sobering after reading about new research showing that the cleaning agents are harmful to fish even though they improve the outcomes for the mammals. Fish vs. photogenic animals vs. your car vs. tourism – which would you choose?

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