Articles | Volume 15, issue 12
Opinion article
01 Dec 2011
Opinion article |  | 01 Dec 2011

Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacts on Alabama beaches

J. S. Hayworth, T. P. Clement, and J. F. Valentine

Abstract. From mid June 2010 to early August 2010, the white sandy beaches along Alabama's Gulf coast were inundated with crude oil discharged from the Deepwater Horizon well. The long-term consequences of this environmental catastrophe are still unfolding. Although BP has attempted to clean up some of these beaches, there still exist many unanswered questions regarding the physical, chemical, and ecological state of the oil contaminated beach system. In this paper, we present our understanding of what is known and known to be unknown with regard to the current state of Alabama's beaches in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Motivated by our observations of the evolving distribution of oil in Alabama's beaches and BP's clean-up activities, we offer our thoughts on the lessons learned from this oil spill disaster.