Data Expo 2011 - Deep-water horizon oil spill

Download informational flyer (pdf).

The winners!


The data set is available for download here.

The web site http://www.noaa.gov/sciencemissions/bpoilspill.html provides data related to the April 20, 2010, BP oil spill. The oil spill arose from an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig, at the location 28.44oN, 88.23oW. Below is a compilation of the data available at that site:

This data only contains comprehensive measurements on temperature and salinity. How this is related to petrochemical compounds is unclear, but it would be interesting if the oil could be detected from these measurements. NOAA's job was to predict the currents to obtain some idea where the oil was headed. Measurements are also very sparse in the geographic space.

The EPA web site http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/download.html provides water chemistry data focused on petrochemical products, sampled near the coastline in the months since the oil spill. Here is the data:

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has been collecting data on affected wildlife. This is data from http://gomex.erma.noaa.gov/erma.html :

Here are additional links that might be interesting to visit: Major Oil Spill site http://www.restorethegulf.gov/, NY Times article http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/04/28/us/20100428-spill-map.html.

Keep checking this space for more data. If anything more comprehensive or directly related to oil products emerges we'll post it here!

The Challenge

The aim of the data expo is to provide a graphical summary of important features of the data set. This is intentionally vague in order to allow different entries to focus on different aspects of the data, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Are the extents of the oil spill visible in measurements on temperature and salinity?
  • Are the temperature and salinity measurements consistent between measuring devices?
  • Is there a spatiotemporal pattern in the temperature and salinity measurements that might indicate presence of oil?
  • Where did the oil go?
  • Is there evidence of contamination in the fisheries?
  • What locations along the coastline are most in danger of contamination from oil?
  • What species of birds were the most affected and where were they when found?

Your submission

To enter the competition you need to submit a poster to the data expo session at the 2011 JSM (more details to follow closer to the time). As well as a printed poster, you're also welcome to bring along your laptop to present interactive/animated components. After the JSM, we'll also organize a special journal issue (tentatively, Computational Statistics and Data Analysis) where you can submit a paper that describes your methodology in more detail.

How to enter

Student entries and/or group entries are welcome. If the competition garners sufficient entries we will award separate prizes for student submissions. Educators may want to incorporate this competition as a class project.

The use of dynamic and/or interactive graphics is likely to be very useful, at least in the exploration of the data. This is encouraged, and we will attempt to provide support for laptops within the poster session so that dynamic/interactive graphics can be included in the poster presentation.

Important Dates

  • Send email expression of interest/intention by Jan 15, 2011, to dicook@iastate.edu.
  • Submit abstract to http://www.amstat.org/meetings/jsm/2011/index.cfm by Feb 1, 2011. (It doesn't need to be perfect or very specific. Abstracts can be modified up until May.)
  • Bring poster entry to JSM July 30-August 4, 2011.

The prizes

There will be cash prizes awarded to the best posters (as judged by a panel of experts). As well as the honour and glory, the best entries will receive an invitation to publish their work in a journal article.

  • First place: $500
  • Second place: $300
  • Third place: $200
Prizes for school age entries and undergraduates still to be negotiated.