Sunlight reduces effectiveness of dispersants used to clean up oil spills

An aircraft applies dispersants over a slick of sunlight-weathered oil in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A new study shows that sunlight transforms oil spills on the ocean surface more quickly and significantly than previously thought, limiting the effectiveness of chemical dispersants that break up floating oil.
A research team funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that sunlight chemically alters crude oil floating on the sea surface within days or hours.
The team reported that sunlight changes oil into ... More at
This is an NSF News item.