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Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill

May 10, 2010

Articles on the recent Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Blowout and environmental disaster.

From The Christian Science Monitor

C’mon, how big is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, really?

Official estimates for the flow of oil out of the Deepwater Horizon well may be just a drop in the bucket. Critics call for release of worst-case scenario data to describe the oil spill disaster.

A boat drifts along one of the booms placed to block oil at the mouth of the Southeast Pass of the Mississippi River near Venice, Louisiana, where it enters the Gulf of Mexico.

By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer / May 1, 2010

AtlantaCalculating the exact flow of crude out of the bent Deepwater Horizon oil rig “riser” pipe on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is difficult. But it’s now likely that the actual amount of the oil spill dwarfs the Coast Guard’s figure of 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, a day.

Independent scientists estimate that the renegade wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf could be spewing up to 25,000 barrels a day. If chokeholds on the riser pipe break down further, up to 50,000 barrels a day could be released, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration memo obtained by the Mobile, Ala., Press-Register.

As estimates of the spill increase, questions about the government’s honesty in assessing the spill are emerging. At the same time, pressure is building for the US to release worst-case scenario estimates so residents of the Gulf Coast can adequately prepare.

<snip>

After originally saying the rig wasn’t leaking at all, the Coast Guard originally used estimates in part provided by BP to describe the size of the spill as 1,000 barrels a day.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 and injuring 17 of a 126-member crew. It exploded again and sank 36 hours later. The resulting leak has created a Jamaica-sized oil slick that is now whirling in a hurricane shape into sensitive marshes of the Louisiana coastline, endangering birds, fish, oysters, and many peoples’ livelihoods.

From The Christian Science Monitor

Another Article-only a shortned version allowed

From the Financial Times

BP’s Gulf oil spill costs mount to $350m

By Ed Crooks
Published: May 10 2010 14:03 | Last updated: May 10 2010 14:03

BP has spent $350m so far on trying to contain its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the company said on Monday morning, raising the prospect that the cost of the clean-up alone could reach $1bn.
The company is preparing a new bid to stem the flow of oil with a “junk shot”: filling the well with debris, followed by heavy fluids…….

From the Financial Times

And one more article:

From Discovery News

Current Could Push Oil Spill Up East Coast

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is expected to strike the Louisiana coastline today, and officials are bracing for impacts to shorebirds, turtles, shellfish and other endangered wildlife. But many ocean scientists are now raising concerns that a powerful current could spread the still-bubbling slick from the Florida Keys all the way to Cape Hatteras off North Carolina.

These oceanographers are carefully watching the Gulf Loop Current, a clockwise swirl of warm water that sets up in the Gulf of Mexico each spring and summer. If the spill meets the loop — the disaster becomes a runaway.

“It could make it from Louisiana all the way to Miami in a week, maybe less.” said Eric Chassignet, director of the Center for Ocean Atmospheric Prediction Studies at Florida State University. “It is pretty fast.”

Right now, some computer models show the spill 30 to 50 miles north of the loop current. If the onshore winds turn around and push the oil further south: “That would be a nightmare,” said Yonggang Liu, research associate at the University of South Florida who models the current. “Hopefully we are lucky, but who knows. The winds are changing and difficult to predict.”

Imagine the loop current as an ocean-going highway, transporting tiny plankton, fish and other marine life along a watery conveyor belt. Sometimes it even picks up a slug of freshwater from the Mississippi River — sending it on a wandering journey up to North Carolina.

The Gulf Loop Current acts like jet of warm water that squirts in from the Caribbean basin and sloshes around the Gulf of Mexico before being squeezed out the Florida Strait, where it joins the larger and more powerful Gulf Stream current.

Fishermen follow the current as a harbinger of good catches. It has also transported algal blooms — toxic “red tides” — from the Gulf of Mexico to beaches and bays along the southeast Atlantic coast.

Oceanographer George Maul worries that the current could push the oil slick right through the Florida Keys and its 6,000 coral reefs.

From Discovery News

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