The objective of the study has been to provide information to support dispersant use decision-making with respect to oil spill chemical dispersant effectiveness under the environmental conditions likely to be encountered in the U.S. Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
The goals of the goals research were to:
Task 1. Identify the prevailing environmental conditions in the U.S. Beaufort and Chukchi Seas that would affect dispersant performance;
Task 2. Identify existing dispersant effectiveness tests that have been completed on Alaskan oils under conditions similar to those that exist in these two regions and identify gaps in the knowledge of dispersant effectiveness;
Task 3. Conduct dispersant effectiveness tests at medium scale to address the knowledge gaps.
This project has been completed and the final report is currently going through peer review. The primary environmental factors that have been shown to influence dispersant effectiveness include: wave energy; water salinity; water temperature; and presence and concentration of ice. The performance of most chemical dispersants is generally not affected by salinity in the range of 25 to 35 parts per thousand. The presence of this near shore fresh water during this period could hinder the effectiveness of chemical dispersants.