Alaska Sea Grant

Hypothetical Spill

Hypothetical spill
You will design their own spill type and location and model where the detritus will drift based on ocean currents. Modeling can take the form of a map on a poster with arrows indicating possible current directions and magnitudes and the resulting drift extent. Documentation on the poster justifying the locations of the currents can be used to demonstrate understanding.

What is it that spilled and what did it spill from?
Where was the spill located?
Is there a creative story behind the hypothetical spill?
What impact does the spill have on humans and other animals?
What features were considered regarding the drift extent of the spill?
What technology is used today to mitigate spill impacts in marine environments?

After you determine the type and location of the spill and find answers to the above questions, your group needs to create a presentation addressing the four points below. You will be assessed using the Ocean in Motion Project Rubric that will be provided to you.
Your presentation should address the following:

  • Which factors driving and directing currents (wind, tides, density (salinity/temperature) and topography) pertain to the spill? Why?
  • Were humans affected by currents, and if so, how?
  • How does the weather in the area of the spill affect the currents?
  • What technology pertains to studying the currents in the spill?

Background Information and Resources:

Oil and Chemical Spills

Nikes and Rubber Duckies

Rubber Ducky Journeys

Swept Away

Flip Flotsam video

Drifter Buoys

Alaska Sea Grant University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Department of Education and Early Development NOAA