State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Gulf Oil Spill Resources

Earth Institute researchers in many disciplines are studying the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and are available to provide information and perspective to press. These include experts in regional seafloor geology; technology of deepwater drilling and spill control; measurement of spill flow; potential movements via underwater or surface currents; possible biological effects; potential effects of the upcoming hurricane season; and wider policy implications of the spill. Journalists may contact researchers directly. Unless otherwise stated, all are with our Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.


Roger N. Anderson, an oil geophysicist, is expert in the challenges of deepwater geology, drilling, and capping of wells. He coauthored several prescient papers on the Gulf of Mexico including: Prospectivity of the Ultra-Deepwater Gulf of Mexico and Future Natural Gas Supplies and the Ultra-Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Hear him discuss options—including a nuclear bomb–for stopping the spill, on radio WNYC. 713-398-7430

Stefan Mrozewski is an engineer with the Lamont Borehole Research Group and former oil-industry employee who has worked extensively on deepwater oil rigs in the Gulf. He is familiar with the risks of deepwater drilling. Read his comments to the New York Times Week in Review. 845-365-8390

David Goldberg directs the Borehole Research Group, and can speak directly to the challenges of deep-sea drilling, and potential obstacles, including formation of gas hydrates that defeated a previous capping attempt. 845-365-8674


Timothy Crone , a marine geophysicist, was one of the first to overturn original low estimates of the spill rate. His video studies are normally designed to measure analogous natural processes such as hydrothermal venting. Read his coauthored New York Times op-ed Measure of a Disaster, or hear him discuss  the spill on public radio. 845-365-8687.   (Marine geophysicist Maya Tolstoy can also address this issue. 845-365-8791)


Andreas Thurnherr is an oceanographer specializing in the circulation and mixing of deep ocean waters, and the implications for deepwater organisms. He can discuss the challenges of analyzing hidden oil movements far under the water surface. Read his piece, ‘No Idea’ Where Deep Water Oil Is Drifting. 845-365-8816

Christopher Zappa is an oceanographer specializing in upper-ocean processes including turbulence, currents, waves and the processes of coasts and estuaries, using remote sensing. He can discuss measurement and tracking of oil at the water surface. See him analyze infrared images suggesting the spill’s vast extent for CBS News. 845-365-8547


Andrew Juhl is a biological oceanographer who can speak to potential effects on the base of the food chain—phytoplankton—as well as how microbes might consume the oil, and related issues such as potential effects these processes could have on oxygen and other qualities of the water on which higher organisms depend. 845-365-8837

Ajit Subramaniam is a biological oceanographer who uses remote sensing and phytoplankton physiology to study how marine ecosystems work. He can address potential effects of the spill on water chemistry, microbes and phytoplankton, and the possible wider effects.  See his analysis of the natural ocean plume created by the Amazon River. 845-365-8641


Tony Barnston is lead forecaster for the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, which produces near-term climate forecasts for many parts of the world. He can discuss how the upcoming summer hurricane season may affect the spill. Read how IRI predicts a potentially intense season in the Gulf region this year. 845-680-4447


Steve Cohen is executive director of The Earth Institute. A former EPA official, he is a leader in building environmental management programs, and in analyzing broad environmental policy issues. Read his recent essay The Gulf Oil Spill as a Breach of Our National Security. 212-854-4445

# # #

More information: Kevin Krajick, Senior Science Writer, The Earth Institute 212-854-9729

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments