Oil spill modeling: computational tools, analytical frameworks, and emerging technologies

Jake R. Nelson, Anthony Grubesic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, a substantial body of research has focused on the development of computational tools and analytical frameworks for modeling oil spill events. Much of this work is dedicated to deepening our understanding of the interactions between oil, fragile ecosystems, and the environment, as well as the impacts of oil on human settlements which are vulnerable to spill events. These advances in oil spill modeling and associated analytics have not only increased the efficiency of spill interdiction and mitigation efforts, they have also helped to nurture proactive, versus reactive, response strategies and plans for local and regional stakeholders. The purpose of this paper is to provide a progress report on the wide range of computational tools, analytical frameworks, and emerging technologies which are necessary inputs for a complete oil spill modeling package. Specifically, we explore the use of relatively mature tools, such as dedicated spill modeling packages, geographic information systems (GIS), and remote sensing, as well emerging technologies such as aerial and aquatic drones and other in-situ sensing technologies. The integration of these technologies and the advantages associated with using a geographic lens for oil spill modeling are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-143
Number of pages15
JournalProgress in Physical Geography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Oil spill modeling
  • decision support
  • environment
  • spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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