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Undersea Pollution Threats and Trajectory Modeling

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The National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has developed the Resources and Undersea Threats (RUST) database in an attempt to inventory and assess potential threats from underwater sources of pollution. Undersea threat information is only the first step of several in determining the potential scope and scale of the spill trajectories that demonstrate potential to impact sensitive resources. Resource managers frequently have to make decisions based on the precautionary approach, using the best available information to weigh alternatives without knowing for certain whether they are making the right choice. In contrast, pollution responders are generally reactionary, and response alternatives must be generated with the best available information.

The Office of Response and Restoration, Hazardous Materials Response Division (HAZMAT) has developed a spill response and planning application, Trajectory Analysis Planner (TAP), which randomly samples seasonal climatology and runs hundreds of possible trajectories. These trajectories are combined to form several modes that display various types of ocean analysis. Combining TAP modeling with the Resources and Undersea Threats database could provide marine resource managers with critical information for making planning decisions, as well as for developing preparedness and response options for inclusion in coastal Area Contingency Plans.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2004

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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