Building Regional Baselines and a Suite of Spatial Tools to Better Prepare for Oil Spills

Lucy Romeo1, Alec Dyer2, Jake Nelson3, Jennifer Bauer4, Kelly K Rose2, Patrick Wingo5 and Michael Sabbatino6, (1)National Energy Technology Laboratory Albany, Corvallis, OR, United States, (2)National Energy Technology Laboratory, Albany, OR, United States, (3)Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Oak Ridge, TN, United States, (4)National Energy Technology Laboratory, Albany, United States, (5)Leidos Research Support Team, Albany, OR, United States, (6)Leidos Research Support Team, Albany, United States
Lessons learned from anthropogenic and natural disasters, including Hurricanes Rita, Katrina and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, demonstrate a need to continue expanding our knowledge of their impact potential to socio-economic and environmentally vulnerable areas. Over the past 6 years researchers at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory have been updating and maintaining spatio-temporal regional databases and the Offshore Risk Modelling (ORM) suite to predict and prepare for disaster scenarios. Regional databases include the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Southern California, and Gulf of Alaska and are comprised of publicly available data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Environmental Sensitivity Index data, infrastructure data from the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and local information on tourism and recreation from state sources. These databases act as the foundation for understanding where future disasters pose the greatest risks. Efforts to update and broaden baseline data into additional U.S. regions include the Atlantic coast, Pacific coast, and Alaska’s North Slope. This presentation will highlight efforts to maintain existing databases, the challenges of building a baseline dataset from the ocean floor up, and how these databases have already been utilized within the ORM suite for risk management efforts.