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Thread: Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

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    Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

    My Way News - Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

    For a spill now nearly half the size of Exxon Valdez, the oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster is pretty hard to pin down. Satellite images show most of an estimated 4.6 million gallons of oil has pooled in a floating, shape-shifting blob off the Louisiana coast. Some has reached shore as a thin sheen, and gooey bits have washed up as far away as Alabama. But the spill is 23 days old since the Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20 and killed 11 workers, and the thickest stuff hasn't shown up on the coast.

    So, where's the oil? Where's it going to end up? Government scientists and others tracking the spill say much of the oil is lurking just below the surface. But there seems to be no consensus on whether it will arrive in black waves, mostly dissipate into the massive Gulf or gradually settle to the ocean floor, where it could seep into the ecosystem for years. When it comes to deepwater spills, even top experts rely on some guesswork.

    One of their tools, a program the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses to predict how oil spills on the surface of water may behave, suggests that more than a third of the oil may already be out of the water. About 35 percent of a spill the size of the one in the Gulf, consisting of the same light Louisiana crude, released in weather conditions and water temperatures similar to those found in the Gulf now would simply evaporate, according to data that The Associated Press entered into the program. The model also suggests that virtually all of the benzene - a highly toxic flammable organic chemical compound and one of the chief ingredients in oil - would be stripped off and quickly vaporize.
    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the doomsday predictions about this spill will eventually turn out to have been overhyped.
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    Re: Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    My Way News - Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone



    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the doomsday predictions about this spill will eventually turn out to have been overhyped.
    Yah think lol.

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    Re: Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

    Both of you seem to be minimizing the impact of this disaster to defend Obama. I live in NW Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, and the economic effects on the local economy, local fishermen, charter boat captains, and tourism has many near panic .... Vancouver, and NY?
    Last edited by webrockk; 05-15-10 at 09:49 PM.

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    Re: Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

    Quote Originally Posted by webrockk View Post
    Both of you seem to be minimizing the impact of this disaster to defend Obama. I live in NW Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, and the economic effects on the local economy, local fishermen, charter boat captains, and tourism has many near panic .... Vancouver, and NY?
    That's not what I'm saying. I have no doubt that the spill has had a detrimental impact and I'm really sorry for that. However the only thing I'm saying is that you can't really compare an oil spill, to a giant hurricane that displaced millions of people and killed 2000.

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    Re: Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

    Quote Originally Posted by Jetboogieman View Post
    That's not what I'm saying. I have no doubt that the spill has had a detrimental impact and I'm really sorry for that. However the only thing I'm saying is that you can't really compare an oil spill, to a giant hurricane that displaced millions of people and killed 2000.
    I have to agree. These are not comparable events.
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    Re: Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

    Quote Originally Posted by webrockk View Post
    Both of you seem to be minimizing the impact of this disaster to defend Obama. I live in NW Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, and the economic effects on the local economy, local fishermen, charter boat captains, and tourism has many near panic .... Vancouver, and NY?
    I'm not sure how this has anything to do with Obama, whether it's a complete non-event or the worst disaster in human history.
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    Re: Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the doomsday predictions about this spill will eventually turn out to have been overhyped.
    That seems unlikely.

    Your link also states:
    The model was not designed for deepwater spills like the one at the Macondo well in the Mississippi Canyon now threatening the Gulf Coast
    In other words, these guys don't have a clue what the oil is doing. They are using models not designed for this type of spill and haven't even looked at the spill.

    This guy is actually looking for the oil.
    Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska marine conservationist who recently spent more than a week on the Gulf Coast, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] risks wildly underestimating the damage caused by the massive spill.

    "If you don't look, you won't find, and they're not looking in the right places,"
    Steiner told the Huffington Post.

    Most major oil spills occur right at the surface, he explained. This one is entirely different.

    With a spill this deep, the oil starts off extremely dense and under pressure. Some of it breaks up or dissolves into the water on the way up, and some of it makes it all the way to the surface. But some will "stabilize in the water column" maybe as low as 200 to 300 meters off the seabed, Steiner said. "Then it starts drifting with the current."

    "I'm virtually certain that a lot of this oil hasn't even surfaced yet," he said. "What we don't know is the trajectory and direction of this subsurface toxic plume."

    That's critically important information, both in order to assess what sorts of habitats the oil may be wiping out, and because "this stuff can pop up in surprising places, weeks if not months from now," he said.

    Another aspect of this spill that's unusual is the widespread use of chemical dispersants, applied both at the source and on the surface. Oil sprayed with dispersants on the surface, for instance, breaks into small droplets -- which could then remain suspended in the water column, Steiner said.

    What is interesting is what Doug Helton does not say in your link but, did say to Huffington.
    Doug Helton, an emergency response coordinator in Seattle who is NOAA's trajectory expert, told HuffPost on Thursday that measuring and tracking the oil beneath the surface is beyond NOAA's abilities at this point.

    "We have some ideas of how it's working," he said.

    "We think that for the most part the oil is surfacing," he added. And referring to a video that shows oil billowing out and up from the pipe, he noted that "you can see it's not staying there."

    But tracking oil underwater "is a harder problem because you can't just fly out with a helicopter to look at it or see it from a satellite," he said. "It's not a simple answer."

    "We have models of how oil behaves when it releases from the sea floor," he said. The models suggest that the oil from this spill is spreading out in a huge cone, a mile high and about two miles across, initially. Then, he said "we can look at currents." But the currents are not uniform at different depths.

    "We have some testing that's trying to understand what the fate of that oil is, subsurface, but that's a problem," he said. "It's a lot easier problem to model the stuff that's on the surface."
    So, even NOAA's trajectory expert admits they don't know what they'r doing. Interesting that your article didn't report that.

    Also from Huffington's interview:
    As it happens, science journalist Mark Schrope is reporting for Nature magazine from aboard the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology research vessel Pelican, which is spending the week taking water samples in the Gulf.

    "As far as we know, this is the only research ship working in the region, Schrope wrote on Monday.
    And on Thursday, Schrope wrote about how the scientists were developing a hypothesis: That there's a layer of dispersed oil about two thirds of a mile down. "This could be coming straight from the... gushing well, where the response team is now adding dispersants directly, and prevented from surfacing by the ocean's complex interplay of currents, density differences, and other factors," Schrope wrote. He continued:

    Eventually the team found that farther away from ground zero the layer was lower... This might show the oil, likely aggregated with plankton and other organic material, is settling out over time....
    Where's The Oil? Your Government Doesn't Really Know

    So, it looks like most of the oil may still be suspended in the ocean, probably drifting with the currents. This junk could surface anywhere months down the line.

    Even if some of the oil was evaporating, which now seems unlikely, the longer this leak continues the more oil will not evaporate and wind up in the ocean and on our shores. It's basic math.
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    Re: Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    I'm not sure how this has anything to do with Obama, whether it's a complete non-event or the worst disaster in human history.
    Then why the OP?

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    Re: Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

    Quote Originally Posted by ADK_Forever View Post
    That seems unlikely.
    Well, we'll just have to wait and see.

    Your link also states:

    In other words, these guys don't have a clue what the oil is doing. They are using models not designed for this type of spill and haven't even looked at the spill.
    So when these scientists note that they can't be certain about the details, you claim that that discredits them, but when the scientists hawking your preferred estimates attach the same disclaimers, that doesn't mean anything. Okay.

    What is interesting is what Doug Helton does not say in your link but, did say to Huffington.

    So, even NOAA's trajectory expert admits they don't know what they'r doing. Interesting that your article didn't report that.
    Nothing in that article is inconsistent with the one I posted. Why am I not surprised that HuffPost spins it in the most dramatic fashion possible, or that you are eager to eat it up?

    Even if some of the oil was evaporating, which now seems unlikely.
    the longer this leak continues the more oil will not evaporate and wind up in the ocean and on our shores. It's basic math.
    Oh, well as long as it's got the ADK_Forever mathematical seal of approval, I guess you're right.

    Quote Originally Posted by webrockk View Post
    Then why the OP?
    Because I found it interesting? Because it's a nice counterpoint to the OH NOES WE GON DIE!!!! angle being hyped by people like ADK_Forever?
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    Re: Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    My Way News - Where's the oil? Model suggests much may be gone



    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the doomsday predictions about this spill will eventually turn out to have been overhyped.
    It takes a special sort of willful blindness to buy this nonsense.

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