Internet Activity for Oil Spill Simulation

PURPOSE

• To use real-time data as a tool to predict the flow of an oil spill.
MATERIALS
• graph paper
• pencils
• real-time data from Bergen Point buoy
• 360 degree protractor
• metric ruler
• compass
• calculator
• map of Newark Bay Complex
• Oil Spill Simulation Activity Sheet

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

• As a member of the Environmental Protection Agency, you and your emergency team have been summoned to a "Code Red" situation that has taken place within the Newark Bay Complex. A ruptured oil tanker carrying crude oil to local refineries has been reported by the Coast Guard to have a slow but steady leak. Your assignment is to trace the path of the oil leak and develop a strategy to reduce the impact of the spill on the environment.
PROCEDURE
• Collect real-time data in tabular as well as graphic form from the NY/NJ Ports site.
• Using latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates, locate on a map where the oil spill occurred.
• On the activity sheet provided, draw perpendicular lines. Use the oil spill as the point where your lines intersect.
• Using the cardinal directions of North, South, East, and West, label the perpendicular lines.
• Analyze the data tables to determine the wind speed and direction.. Record your observations. Find the current speed and direction. Record the data.
• On the activity sheet, place a point on the direction in which the wind is going. Draw a line connecting the points. Be sure your line is drawn according to scale.
• Place a point in the direction in which the current in flowing. Draw a line connecting the points. Be sure your line is drawn according to scale.
• Model the diagram in a bodily kinesthetic manner to demonstrate the resultant force.
• Illustrate prediction on a map provided.
• Upper grade students will transfer their illustration to a graph using concepts of algebra and geometry.
• A teacher demonstration will show how this can be accomplished through the use of a compass, protractor, ruler, and calculator.
QUESTIONS
1. Left alone, will the oil spread out in an organized way? Predict how the oil will spread.
2. How is the spread of oil promoted?
3. Can local currents affect the spread of spilled oil? If so, how?
4. Do you think wave action will have an affect on the spill? Explain.
5. Do tidal influences have an affect on the spread on the spill in the area? Explain.
6. Describe how seasonal weather changes may affect the movement of the oil spill. Include the change of temperature and wind direction in your description.
7. Will the harbor characteristics have an affect on the path the oil spill takes?
8. When crude oil spills, does it float or sink?
9. Does the type of oil spilled determine whether it floats or sinks?
10. Will sediments in the water affect the spread of oil?
11. How can this data be used to reduce the impact of an oil spill on the environment?
12. What are the long term affects of a large oil spill?
13. What are some of the things that could be done to reduce the risks of oil spills?
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