Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Dr. Darek Bogucki

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Dr. Darek Bogucki

Following the Oil Trail

Dr. Darek Bogucki is helping to investigate the fate of petroleum released into the Gulf of Mexico by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. As assistant professor in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences and recipient of an $800,000 grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, he is part of a consortium of 12 research institutions across the nation to investigate the dispersion of petroleum into sea water following the April 20, 2010, disaster.

Goals for the study are to accurately predict the fate of hydrocarbons released into the environment, guiding risk management and response efforts to minimize damage to human health, the economy, and the environment. The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi-led team will address the physics of dispersion of oil like particles within in the upper part of ocean.

“The benefits of our research extend far beyond the Gulf,” said Bogucki. “Our research is poised make a quantum leap in the improvement of numerical models for global oceanic circulation in air or water, and better climate predictions, or even hurricane evolution.”

Bogucki’s research will address the surface and near-surface processes that affect oil movement, dispersion, mixing, and sinking. He will study the role of surface waves, currents and wind stresses in the turbulent flow of sea water using the University’s remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), which will lead to insights on the dispersion of oil in the ocean.

According to Bogucki, any environmental situation can be reproduced as a small scale process in a controlled environment such as a pool or laboratory to determine solutions to ocean physics related programs. He is collaborating with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab on plans for experiments to discover new ways to remotely measure oceans, so that ultimately, the measurements can be conducted from space.

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