Oil likely to reach east coast: update for Thurs June 3

Where The Oil Is Going

Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) released a series of simulations showing that the oil in the Gulf is likely to reach the East Coast. (h/t Dot Earth). The yellow dye in the model “represents the best estimate of how ocean currents are likely to respond under typical wind conditions.”

This animation shows one scenario of how oil released at the location of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico may move in the upper 65 feet of the ocean. This is not a forecast, but rather, it illustrates a likely dispersal pathway of the oil for roughly four months following the spill. It assumes oil spilling continuously from April 20 to June 20. The colors represent a dilution factor ranging from red (most concentrated) to green (most diluted).  The dilution factor does not attempt to estimate the actual barrels of oil at any spot; rather, it depicts how much of the total oil from the source that will be carried elsewhere by ocean currents. For example, areas showing a dilution factor of 0.01 would have one-hundredth the concentration of oil present at the spill site.

What Should The Feds Be Doing?

Philip H., an oceanographer now working in DC, wonders what exactly the federal government should be doing, and with what resources.

But more to the point, what more does the federal government have an obligation to do? And with what resources? I’ve heard that the Navy should be deployed, but to what end? Destroyers and guided missile frigates are too big to pull skimmers or boom; smaller in shore craft lack endurance for staying at sea for weeks on end. Most, if not all of the private sector vessels that are equipped for response are already contracted to BP, so the feds couldn’t really bring in any more boats or crews.

On shore, boom was pulled along hundreds of miles of coast line well before the oil arrived, and the oil got through anyway. Having done oil boom placement and retrieval, I know of no way the government could have done it that the shrimpers and BP’s contractors didn’t. And now that the oil is in the marsh, the real question of how do we get it out is raised. Here the federal government may be able to predict what the impacts to ecosystems and species are, but do you really want the Army Corps of Engineers pulling up giant bucket-fulls of marsh mud and plants to remove the oil? That’s the only real mechanical solution that a federal agency could undertake, and it would destroy – as much as the oil is destroying – one of our Nation’s most productive ecosystems.

Of course, the booming may have been done “totally fucking wrong.” Fishgrease on the Daily Kos provides salty dialogue and a helpful diagram.

Enter Hollywood

The EPA hosted a brainstorming session with director James Cameron, scientists, federal agents, and ROV pilots. xkcd provides a helpful summary:

Miriam Goldstein (230 Posts)

17 Replies to “Oil likely to reach east coast: update for Thurs June 3”

  1. That YouTube video is going to be a real eye-opener to those on the East Coast and even in Europe who imagined their shores wouldn’t be directly affected… that this was ‘the Gulf of Mexico’s problem’. (We all knew better of course, that we’re all connected to the whole ocean.)

    Thank god for XKCD.

    1. I assume that you have seen the garbage that floats at sea around the world?I have been amazed everytime I see sea food on the market.Can you imagine taste of that water in a fishes mouth?You ever smell that exhaust that is like burnt matches or some wierd unknown gas?I can stop.Most kids in school that dont want to study but arent idiots,what you think?They do not agree with what is being fed and injected into them.What is the motivation of this self distructive onslought against life and peace supported buy company profits.Leadership my butt crack.Who sees the truth and who has the power to repair the mistakes?Free men and women that support each other thats who!

  2. @Karen I don’t really feel that sentiment here in the Netherlands. I understand you’re from the UK, maybe it’s different there?

    The original article states that the model itself is very limited. This isn’t reflected at all in the newspaper/web articles I see popping up everywhere. One big newspaper is already asking the question on its website whether the government should take action by putting booms on standby near all inlets.

  3. This is an emergency. We need leadership that will help us organize our resources to clean this mess up. The DOD can do this job. They can provide a command and control system to energize human resources to do whatever can be done to clean up the spill.

    Mr. Obama—if you hear me—please delegate General Powell or Clinton and Bush to take charge!

    1. Excuse me!I appreciate Bush’s efforts as a president and could never equal his standing.But you have to use your head,he is an oil man.That opens too many moral/profit challanges dont you think?Clinton on the other hand is in my view the other end of that spectrum.Military scrapes up into a big burn pile or bulldozes under.It takes the individuals that live in these communities that are physically fit to handle the work along side professionals experienced with each ecological task.We cant dwell in the past.True that some species will be lost and some may not slowly recover as some will.We stand to have human loses in physical and mental health for years to come.We must plan logical and humane approach to defend ourselves from corruption and abuse.Have you checked up on the cost of housing in the region,who can afford the insurance alone?La-De-Da,Holy Mackerel!

  4. @Pepijn As an American in the UK I’ve been getting a lot of ‘terrible what’s happening over there’ comments, emphasis on ‘over there’. But yes, you’re right, far too much stake is getting place in this one limited model. I think it’s main usefulness at his stage is to galvanize concern and action.

    1. @Karen. Thanks for the reply. I’m meeting some friends tonight, all expats working for a big international environmental NGO, and will bring up the topic as well.

      These are difficult items to frame however. In a modern day world disasters and events all of a sudden aren’t purely local or regional anymore, and that’s something to get used to. It makes people uncomfortable. I think it is the same reason a lot of people are stubborn about accepting climate change as a key player in a changing world; it’s just difficult to connect the dots of a slow moving huge trans-boundary issue if you’re living in a nice apartment in a city.

      Yesterday evening I made a quick BP parody ad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpnU8zdXEUk&hd=1) and showed it to some friends. Second comment I got was: “Wow, but BP here in Europe is really different isn’t it? They would never dare that here!” :|

  5. This is a devastation for all of the envirnment not just the Gulf or the United States. Maybe we should all pitch in to save the world from this disaster.

  6. What the government can do is quit ignoring potential problems and seriously 1) investigate and 2) relegate. That’s a government’s job. The fact that we haven’t had much attention paid to the common good since the 60s pretty much sums up the problem. Oil companies will profiteer, just like any others. The government should respect and guard its citizens and visitors.

  7. I have had the opportunity to experience “in person” the duties and functions of drilling rig personel.For the most part,the environment and safety come first,job one.Production and bonus is after completion.
    Apparently there is some type of eccentrically motivated abuse of the individuals mindsets that are engineering this containment of the deep horizon blow out.I really want safety and success but in a satisfactorily 100% shut in now. It seems to me that getting 2 or 3 wells and the rights and control is the next battle field.The stupid Top Hat device is something of a Buck Rogers idea.A perfect seal could have been obtained in the beginning.This is total BS.I feel sorry for the good Americans that are losing their jobs and being with out employment in this expensive unforgiving capitalistic era.No single type of monetary intervention will suffice in this country’s losses.This is the same helplessness we all share under the influence and injustice in the act of pursuit of profits.How can I forgive?I have witnessed a foreign flag flying above ours on an inland well site in n.e. Colorado area.If there is enough money envolved I guess that makes it right to plunder this country’s booty.Humanitarians my ass.

  8. I want that rig off the bottom,as evidence will be needed.Bring that rig to morgan city and dry dock it where everyone can see it.Somebody needs to find out what is being done about recovery of the vessel.I cant settle for Davey Jones Locker as resting place.It can be and needs to be floated!Lets go,get it up,come on.No excuses,Evidence,Jolly Graphs,Computers,lost crew,and personal effects.Get it up and out of there.That aint no stinking grave yard!

  9. Can they tell how far the oil will travel? I know it depends on currents, but can they predict the distance it can travel?

    1. Oil queen – The distance ultimately depends on the concentration of the oil. All the oceans are connected, and theoretically everything can go anywhere if there is enough of it for long enough. If (hypothetically & FSM forbid) a huge amount of oil was added continuously for hundreds of years, it could permeate the entire world’s ocean. If there is just a short burst of oil it would be diluted out of existence before it traveled very far. Hope this helps.

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