The oil spill started on August 30, 2019 and has affected over 2000 km of coastline in Northeast Brazil. The incident is already the biggest oil spill in Brazilian history and one of the worst environment disaster (source Folha de São Paulo) and as of today, the origin of the oil spill is still unknown.

Using drifters from the Global Drifters Program and tools described in Probabilistic method, Dr. P. Miron and, Dr. Marlos Goes and Dr. Rick Lumpkin from NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, backtracked the origin of the oil from the coast near Recife, Pernambuco. Presented on the figure below, the most probable source of the oil spill is dependent on the depth at which the oil is spreading. The dynamics on the surface of the ocean is approximated by undrogued drifter trajectories while the subsurface dynamics is approximated by the drogued drifters (15 m deep).

Link to the news articles: Folha de S.Paulo (pdf), ODCM (pdf), Brasil 247 (pdf), Tijolaço (pdf).