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Clarkson University Professor to Lead International Session on Oil Spill Modeling

Clarkson University Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Poojitha Yapa is organizing the oil spill modeling session as chairman of the group at the 36th International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research World Congress.
Poojitha YapaIAHR has organized this special one-day session for July 2 at The Hague, Netherlands, to create a forum for scientists to determine the current state of the oil spill modeling, industry and government needs, and areas that need to be improved. The session will bring together researchers from academia, research institutes, government and industry around the world to exchange ideas and set future directions.

"The biggest issues are that there are still many aspects related to the behavior of oil that we don't understand in detail," Yapa said.

After the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in July 2010, IAHR decided to form a working group to discuss the impact and modeling of oil spills. Through this group, a special workshop and five conference sessions have been held in Singapore in January 2014 to improve the understanding of what happens to oil when spilled on or under water.

Yapa said it is important for people in different disciplines to learn the science of oil spills to better prevent damage during emergencies. Consulting companies use fundamentals from academia to develop oil spill models, and spills that occur in different government territories also require political cooperation.

There is only about 40 years of research on oil spills, Yapa said, so collecting more data will help researchers develop better models for the future.

"You can't model until you have a lot of data, but the data collectors don't know what to collect until you have models," he said. "That's a major barrier."

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

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[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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