Oil Spill Update for June 10, 2010

SpongeBob vs BP - from Cartoon Brew

Where is the oil?

Today’s oil spill forecast predicts:

Onshore (SE) winds are forecast to continue through Friday at 15 knots or less. Persistent southwesterly winds last week resulted in northward movement of the slick towards the Mississippi/Alabama barrier islands and westward movement along the Florida Panhandle. Models show alongshore currents becoming more westward over the next few days, inhibiting further eastward movement of any oil. However, coastal regions between Horn Island, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida may continue to experience limited shoreline oiling throughout this forecast period. To the west of the Mississippi delta, any remaining floating oil in this region could come ashore between Timbalier Bay and Southwest Pass.

There may also be two separate, unrelated spills in the Gulf.

Remember those underwater plumes that NOAA poo-pooed? Well, they’re confirmed. Read about it directly from Samantha Joye, one of the scientists working there right now. (h/t Voltage Gate).  Deborah Blum at Speakeasy Sciences wonders why it took NOAA so long to recognize them.

A journalist from the Associated Press dove underneath the spill. Here’s what it looks like.


Today in PR…

  • The NYT reports that BP and local officials did block the access of news reporters to spill sites.

Impacts of the Spill

National Geographic has sad photos of oil-coated birds, fish, and crabs.

GrrlScientist’s been tearing it up with impacts to bluefun tuna spawning (“spawn of the living dead”) and oiled birds (“to kill or not to kill?”). She also reminds us of the worst oil spill in US history. Check her out.

Deborah Blum wonders if we’re ignoring a related threat to Gulf wildlife – methane and related oxygen depletion. In their blog, scientist Samantha Joye writes:

There is a tremendous amount of oxygen consumption in the plumes.  We have measured respiration rates in the plumes, above and below the plumes, and at control sites where plumes are not present.  The respiration rates in the plume are at least 5-10 times higher than we see anywhere else.

Read the rest of her excellent FAQ.


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