The Deepwater Horizon oil leak caused severe environmental damage in the Gulf of Mexico, and aspects of its environmental impact are still unknown. In addition to surface oil slicks, large underwater plumes of oil were found.

To help evaluate the potential environmental impact, Adcroft et al. ran simulations of underwater plumes of dissolved and suspended oil originating from a point source in the Gulf of Mexico. They assessed dispersal and decay mechanisms, examining the possibility that toxic concentrations of dissolved oil might exit the Gulf of Mexico.