BP's Deepwater Horizon - Oil to Stay Put; Dispersant Questions - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6805.

Last week, NOAA released a new study showing that the dispersed oil was not likely to travel far.

In order for the oil to be dispersed very far, it would need to reach the Loop Current. At this point in time, the Loop Current is very far away, and there seems to be little chance the oil will travel that far.

According to the report:

Overflights in the past week have found only scattered patches of light sheen near the Mississippi Delta – an indication that aggressive efforts to capture and disperse the oil have been effective and that the remaining oil is naturally dispersing and biodegrading.

Around May 24, a large loop current eddy, called Eddy Franklin, started to “pinch off” and detach, from the loop current. For a number of weeks, Eddy Franklin and the loop current showed varying levels of connectivity. The eddy is now clearly disconnected from the loop current and will likely migrate to the west over the next few months. As of July 25, 2010, Eddy Franklin was more than 100 miles from the nearest surface oil associated with the Deepwater Horizon/BP source.

There is no clear way for oil to be transported to Southern Florida, the Florida Keys or along the East Coast of the United States unless the loop current fully reforms with Eddy Franklin, or moves northward, neither of which is likely to happen for several months. At that point, essentially all of the remaining surface oil will have dissipated.

There is also emerging discussion regarding the use of dispersant. Congressman Markey released documents raising question whether the amount of dispersant BP used was actually higher than the 1.8 million gallons reported by BP.

On June 16, Markey notes, BP told the Coast Guard that its use of Corexit had never exceeded 3,365 gallons in any recent day. Yet e-mails to Congress told a different story. In fighting the Gulf oil spill on June 12 and 13, the e-mails noted, BP used 14,305 gallons 36,000 gallons respectively.

Coast Guard officials insist that they carried out the EPA’s directive faithfully. In a press briefing Saturday, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is leading the federal relief effort, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said they had reduced BP’s use of dispersant on the surface by 72 percent.

At this point, BP and the Coast Guard have not had a chance to respond, so it is not clear whether there is anything to the allegations.

Prof. Goose's comment:

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Morning, Gail. Thankyouthankyouthankyou, Eddy Franklin!

Transferred from the just-closed thread:


The Sun Herald has put up video of its reporters' 44-minute session with Ken Feinberg. In answering their questions, he may have answered yours too. Much more nitty-gritty than I've seen anywhere else so far:


Thanks, lotus - a very good discussion of the claims situation and what steps Attorney Feinberg is taking to mitigate the losses. I knew he was an "honest broker" when he commented (my paraphrase) that if you don't want to accept the payment for the claim you submit and thereby forego your right to sue BP you are indeed able to do so. But remember, win or lose the lawyers will be paid!

Just a visual reminder of the "if it bleeds into the Atlantic, it leads" worst case modeling that seemed to be the rage just two months ago.



I'd make a joke here, but decided instead to slowly shake my head in wonder.

Well we should we relieved, the oil clean up efforts are going as planned and it seems like the gulf current didn't carry it pass the Florida Keys and to the Atlantic, like some feared. Now we can rest and focus on the important things like cleaning this up and killing the well.

There are tar balls on the east coast of Florida.

SaveFlipper, tar balls wash up on shores all over the world, and have been doing so for millions of years. It's quite often a natural occurrence, and not always anthropogenic in origin. It's highly possible that the tar balls on the eastern Florida shores have an alternate provenance than the Macondo well.

Yea, I heard the story about how they were always there and could be from other sources. BS. The locals discuss it openly caution against reporting it because of the effect on property values.

Nope, I'm afraid you're the one peddling BS here. I'm a New Smyrna Beach local who discovered tarballs the first time I spread a beachtowel on the sand after moving here in 1982. Ours are from careless passing ships and always have been.

Bilge is bilge, yours or theirs.

Well as the bottom poster said it could be from somewhere else because I didn't hear a panic about the oil washing up on the easterns seaboard and the likes of that. But I trust you guys to tell me what's really going on.

The major variable in those models is the position of the Loop Current. It can do anything from hug the northern coast of Cuba (more what it's doing now), or stretch all the way up to nearly the Mississippi delta (as it did during August 2005, providing an avenue of warm water for Katrina to follow and feed off of). One reason why Bonnie weakened as it headed toward Louisiana was, the Loop Current is small right now and Bonnie passed over a cyclonic (counterclockwise) eddy, with cooler water.

The deep currents are indeed important, but they're much slower than the surface currents, and don't connect directly to the Atlantic (since the Straits of Florida are less than 800m deep). Deep water occasionally leaks out into the Caribbean, but otherwise simply remains in the Gulf, stirred by deep eddies.

That, and the fact that the floating oil was perhaps more influenced by wind than current.

Assuming current affects oil spills sounds logical until your wind goes in the opposite direction of your current. Wind during the summer in the Gulf of Mexico, absent major storms, is pretty darn predictable. How many models incorporated the influence of the wind? It would explain why the oil slick got pushed to the coast but not to the loop current in whatever form it is this year. Change the season to winter and things would have been significantly different.

Exactly right, R2-3D. Wind of any strength will trump all but the strongest currents (like rips or very strong tides). I'd think any even half-decent model would account for this, and certainly the NOAA models do. But the Loop Current is pretty fast--up to 2 m/s--and would advect some, if not all.

Wind nor current trumps rain runoff.

Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't this problem in a 3D emulsion? Floating oil sheens are two dimensional.

There are research papers that indicate subsurface currents should be monitored if we want to know what is happening a thousand feet or so down where the dispersants and plumes will stay or be carried off unseen by those only looking at the surface.

Those research papers are more reliable than current discourse in general because it was generated absent the current biased political and legal wrangling.

Part of the weakness of the current discussion about Gulf oceanography comes from the fact that NOAA has the science lead in the spill. The agency is notoriously weak when it comes to the deep ocean. Nearshore has priority over deep and the Gulf has the lowest priority of any region. MMS has been the lead on studies of the deep Gulf and has posted the reports from most studies at a single link http://www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/regulate/environ/deepenv.html Some major ecology reports from the mid 80's are missing.

Gulf currents have been extensively studied with MMS and industry funds. Current data at near real time from surface to bottom or near bottom are publically available at another link... http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/maps/ADCP_WestGulf.shtml

Tbe two main questions now are:
1. Has anyone figured out how the new parts fit together?
2. Did any of the many previous MMS studies have any impact at all on regulation?

Samples from Ben Raines' double feature:

Alaskan fishery collapse holds important message for Gulf

Alaska reopened its herring fishery about three years after the Exxon Valdez spill.

The decision was based on the idea that the fishery had recovered, said Sean Powers, a Dauphin Island Sea Lab scientist who has studied that spill's effects for more than a decade.

"But it was really just a strong year class for herring," he said. "Once they harvested that strong year class, they crashed the population. That was the end of the fishery." ...

Gary Thomas, a scientist at the University of Miami, has studied the Alaskan herring population since 1971. He said the decision on herring was based on years' worth of bad data that consistently overestimated the spawning population.

"They really didn't have any good numbers on how many fish were there," Thomas said. "They did scientific modeling and guessed."

More troubling today, Thomas said, is that data on Gulf species may be even worse.

Some say effects of Deepwater Horizon spill will be felt for years to come

Ed Overton, a Louisiana State University chemist who has been analyzing oil samples for the federal government and the Press-Register, said the Gulf had done a remarkable job of breaking down the oil. Many of the samples he has been looking at show the oil has almost entirely degraded, he said.

"I think the worst is past us," Overton said. "We're going to continue seeing oil coming ashore, and there will be impacts, but the bacteria in the Gulf are doing a better job of handling the oil than anybody expected."

Dispersants, he said, "helped put the oil in a form where that bacteria could work on it."

Asked then if underwater dispersant use had been effective, Overton said it appeared that it had, at least by breaking up oil and keeping it from beaches and marshes.

But he added that the jury was still out on all of the biological implications of dispersant use.

His more recent research cruises have documented better oxygen levels, he said, though they remain lower than would normally be expected.

This seems like the key thing. If the oxygen holds up, bacteria will take care of the oil, dispersant, and dissolved gas in the deep layer where most of the plumes are (1000-1300 meters). Then the harm from the pollutants that stayed deep because of mechanical and chemical emulsification should not be very great at all.

Raines is estimating 3.5 million barrels spilled based on 53,000 bbl/day they used to calculate dispersant use (1:50 ratio of dispersant:oil). But at what point did they raise the working estimate to 53,000?

I would guess more like 2.5 bbl spilled. For one thing, the oil flowed for 84 days (83 plus two half-days) rather than 87. Then the early flow was much, much lower. The estimate of 5,000 bbl/day was a serious estimate at the time it was made, although the flow rate was increasing. In late May the Riser Insertion Tool captured 8,000 bbl/day while the leaks from the bent riser didn't look huge. So it seems like 5K/day for April, 20K/day for May, and 53K/day for June and July would be reasonable guesses.

WaPo's story on the argument over how much Corexit went into the Gulf includes a graphic on how dispersants work at the molecular level.

Hydrophobe info from Wiki:
It's like when you wash the dishes, but the waste doesn't goto the sewer or septic tank. It stays in the Gulf.

Samantha Joye has a new post up on her blog. I wish she would post more often, but she must be very busy just now.

What she says is pretty much what I've been thinking: we just don't know about most of the things that people have been spreading scare rumors and pontificating about. We need more data, which probably won't be there in all cases. (That last is my addition, but easily surmised from what Joye said.)

Thanks for the tip, Cheryl. Been checking over there every week or so, impatiently, so it's good to see her back. How frustrating for all these researchers, knowing that others have data they themselves can't get to. No wonder this is about as close as she comes to a definite statement:

Has BP sprayed 43 million gallons of Corexit instead the 1.5 million they reporting?

I think it will be some time before we know the full scale and impacts of the dispersants used to manage this spill. I think it’s safe to say however, that 43 million gallons of corexit have not been used because the stockpile of corexit was not that big and the production capacity is limited. We can come up with the upper application limit by knowing those two things and it’s much closer to 5 million gallons than 40 million gallons.

You should mark your calendar and call in/listen in to her next press conference on August 10 better still come with a question or two. 888-204-5987 access code 2560397


It's because we don't know every possible effect of every free radical in the universe that Congressman Soros- er, I mean Markey- can create fear over the amount of dispersants used. No one can rule out that a single bite of a single bad fish could cause someone to have cancer of some sort.

But because tests have been done, we know that in six months or so a random drop anywhere in the gulf region would yield a miniscule (less than 1 in 1000 chance) that you could see that this spill ever happend, we can eat just as much gulf seafood as before and never experience an effect.

That's not much of a news story, though.

I think the truth lies somewhere in between but probably closer to your scenario. But six months really? I always thought it take years for this to work its way though the food web.

One of our p-chem exercises was to calculate the probability of breathing in one of the argon atoms from Ceasar's last breath- so you could say it takes millenia for things to work their way through the environment.

But given the quadrillions of gallons of water in the gulf, and the amount of dispersion (pun intended) of oil and Corexit, and given there will be some storm action (in what we're told is a HIGHLY active hurricane environment due to global warming), my point is that in six months, if you get dropped anywhere but perhaps in a marsh edge that has been soaked with oil, you won't be able to see, smell, feel, or taste anything.

As for how much of anything here fish will bioaccumulate, I haven't seen any data to suggest they will bioaccumulate anything. I know this though- for all the salt they swim in, I still have to add seasoning.

Thanks for educating me and in celebration of the end of this spill, will you purchase some delicious gulf shrimp to rejoice?
I might.

So far the hurricane season has been pretty quiescent...hopefully it will stay that way. The Gulf shore folks have had enough crap to deal with this year.

As for how much of anything here fish will bioaccumulate, I haven't seen any data to suggest they will bioaccumulate anything.

Ah, then we just need to ask the FDA to issue what the safe contamination levels are for the fish you will eat, like they do with mercury [ http://www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/product-specificinformation/seafood/f... ]

Seems even Corexit has toxicity measurements:
"The silverside fish (Menidia beryl-lina) is an exception, having a sensitivity similar to crustaceans (LC50 ϭ25.2 to 86.9 ppm)."
[ www.iosc.org/papers/00020.pdf ]

The next thing that would be informative and interesting is its bioaccumulation or breakdown rates in the Gulf. Hopefully others can share such research, if it is available.

If there is none yet, it is sad to say, but we are going to find out.

There was a report on CNBC that BP was going to put $500M into research into long term effects, but then I've seen reports of CNBC putting $X00M into a couple other things.

I suspect that's a reference to what some people are referring to as BP's attempt to "buy up" scientists, ostensibly to provide expert testimony. What has made many people nervous is the report that as part of their contract to be awarded funds, the scientists have to pledge not to publish the results of their research for a specified period (my recollection is that it's three years).

This has triggered allegations that BP is trying to muzzle scientists. I believe that's related to the current unrest at Berkeley right now over the possible corruption of scientific integrity that might be a byproduct of the contributions by BP to the University. Some have suggested that the funds be directed through the NSF to reduce some of the risk of bias.

There are different sorts of contracts with scientists and different expectations by different scientists.

I've contracted to university professors. Our organization had a very mild statement about publication in the contract boilerplate - I can't recall exactly what it was, probably just that we should be notified if the professor published about the research done under our contract. Some objected and some didn't. Seems to depend on all sorts of factors: the professor him/herself, the institution they're associated with, the temper of the times, etc. etc.

Joye, in her post, pointed out that simply having a contract with BP doesn't hurt the integrity or quality of research. I don't have firsthand knowledge of what BP is doing now, but some reports have sounded a bit like they are trying to "buy up" scientists.

OTOH, spreading money around for research is not at all a bad idea just now. But it's always possible to do it so it looks bad, and I would never underestimate the ability of a large organization to look like it is doing the absolutely worst thing.

It works by a process called Reverse Micelle Encapsulation , it's a type of Molecular encapsulation.

The proprietary ionic salt in the formulation of COREXIT does not break down in 1-4 days...that was the old formula of 9500 & 9500A...which was made for surface application in droplet form, and not at a depth with a much higher saturation of natural electrophiles( read : chloride ions ) which attack the bonds in the micelles normally, to help them dissociate. If it has already been found in larval sea-life, then it is obviously going to persist longer than the supposed " 1-4 " days.

Although the H/B balance is not primarily dependent on covalent bonding for it's strength, at 5k' the salt saturation is about 35%, that's a pretty acidic solute.

As far as nano-particles ( the ioninc salt they are using ), their effects on human physiology is little understood, and as well, they are very difficult to filter during water treatment operations, or passages through home filtration systems.

I have my own 2¢ about all of this, but I will not annoy the Drum with insanely long posts, I will just say that the chemicals in the COREXIT products are starting to be found in silt sampling on the Gulf shores.

Our government cannot continue to BS people about this.



I'm glad you're so smitten over Corexit, an untested toxic chemical whose components are a trade secret.

The British don't share your assessment. That's why Corexit is banned over there.

1. Untested - nope. If it is untested then how can you say the British banned it after it failed their tests?

2. Toxic. The fact of the matter is that Corexit seems to be the opposite. The positive effects it is reported to be having in the Gulf in accelerating the biodegratation of oil would classify it as an anti-toxin.

3. The British banned it because it interfered with limpets ability to attach to surfaces along the rocky shores in England. The fact of the matter is Corexit is approved for use in dozens of countries, GB being the ONLY exception, due to the limpet issue.

I should've been more clear by what I meant by untested:

"No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product."


You have a fair point about Britain's ban. But if it's toxicity is able to effect limpets on rocky shores, I would imagine there are loads of other knock-on effects for other creatures.

Since Corexit has never been deployed in this quantity, we'll have to find out, won't we.

As for your argument that it's an anti-toxin... It seems rather semantic, like you're trying to define away the toxic properties of Corexit by emphasizing its oil degradation capability.

Corexit is a toxin, in the sense that it poses dangers to organic life. That's just a fact. All dispersants have toxicity, and Corexit is one of the most toxic.

Also, I would challenge you to present evidence that Corexit is breaking down the oil and sending it down into the depths to be broken down by bacteria. We have no idea how much oil is under the surface, but there are studies, both present and past, that suggest that this deep water leak will do most of its damage in the unseen water column. My understanding -- correct me if I'm wrong -- is that at certain depths, there is no bacteria, so if the oil goes deep enough, it won't be eaten. Not to mention, the bacteria depletes oxygen from surrounding waters, in the same way that bacteria does in the dead zone the Mississippi river delta.

As for the obvious question -- how can Nalco say its product has never been tested for its toxicity, while EPA rates it above other dispersants in terms of toxicity... The question bothers me. The answer seems to be that all the tests so far have been preliminary or limited, and none stringent and thorough enough to provide definite guidance in Nalco's product manual. But that's my uneducated guess.

Actually if you do a literature search you will find a large number of studies of Corexit 9500 toxicity in the presence of oil. The idea that it is untested is just silly. In fact it may be one of the most tested dispersants.

Wasn't one of the biggest complaints about Corexit that it was more toxic than other candidates? How can that assesment be made without testing?

What is unknown are the overall impacts of deepwater application of dispersants.

There was a panel of experts convened by the Coast Guard and NOAA that came to the conclusion that it would be a net benefit. So far that conclusion seems to be holding up, of course it is early yet.

As for your argument that it's an anti-toxin... It seems rather semantic, like you're trying to define away the toxic properties of Corexit by emphasizing its oil degradation capability.

Corexit is a toxin, in the sense that it poses dangers to organic life.

Well if we are going to open up the bag of worms that represents semantics I would propose the word "toxic" has been so frequently used and misused that it has no usefulness whatsover. Consider the definition you gave - it poses dangers to organic life. That is so broad that any form of matter in the universe could be called toxic. For example, oxygen is a huge danger to organic life as it can fuel rapid combustion of said life. And water - Oh My how many people die of water overdoses every year? Far more than Corexit has killed, that is for sure.

So perhaps we should abandon the word toxic and stick the the idea of measuring and reporting toxicity instead - on a quantitative or at least comparative basis under defined conditions.

The thing I have said repeatedly here is that the big picture is what counts. If Corexit is ameliorating the effects of the toxic crude oil spilled into the Gulf by reducing the amount of oil accumulating in sensitive locations and enhancing the rate of biodegradation the net effect may well be considered to be an anti-toxin.

Think of many of the drugs used in modern medicine. Some have quite high levels of toxicity. Yet in the right hands the net result is positive for the patient.

First, perhaps you could explain why Nalco's instruction manual says it hasn't been tested for its toxicity. Not sure why that is.

Second, I'd ask you, are you fine with the way Nalco has withheld the components of its product as a "trade secret"?

Third, my terrible definition of "toxic" aside, and leaving aside what you say is Corexit's anti-toxin effect on oil, would you agree that it's a toxin? Would you agree that it's toxic?

Here's a good article on dispersants' toxic effects on wildlife. An outdated, more toxic version caused major ill health in humans after the Exxon Valdez spill. The modern version, 9500, may cause internal bleeding - from my understanding, it atomizes cells, just as it does oil.


Oh, and then there's this:

"BP PLC continues to stockpile and deploy oil-dispersing chemicals manufactured by a company with which it shares close ties, even though other U.S. EPA-approved alternatives have been shown to be far less toxic and, in some cases, nearly twice as effective."


I have no idea what motivated Nalco to say the dispersant was 'untested'. Perhaps because it is untested on humans? Most likely the phrase is there for legal disclaimer purposes.

FYI, Nalco under urging of the EPA has released the composition of the Corexits they used in the Gulf. They are posted here:


As far as 'toxic', as I said I feel the word is so hard to define I don't feel it has any useful meaning any more. You saw what happened when you tried. I'd rather stick to quantitative measurements of toxicity. As far as I am concerned 'toxic' is just for B movie titles these days.

The article you posted a link to is a mish-mash of poorly phrased and in some cases incorrect information. It also doesn't describe any of your claims that it 'atomizes' cells. What I would say is that in pure undiluted form Corexit would have some very strong effects on individual cells. Of course that form is many orders of magnitude more concentrated than what is in the Gulf, so such effects are not likely to be apropos in considering the current situation. The ingredients of household cleaners you probably have under your sink will behave the same way.

The NYT blog entry is somewhat interesting. It contains statements by one of Nalco's competitors about efficacy and toxicity that could be construed as being in conflict of interest, along with some accusations of collusion between BP and Nalco. Hard to say what this amounts to.

Ultimately of course there was a follow-on questioning of the dispersant choice by the EPA, in which they asked BP to identify less toxic alternatives that could be substituted. There was a lot of back and forth on that issue, but ultimately the EPA wasn't able to clearly identify that BP should have been using something else so they were allowed to continue with Corexit 9500. The same link I posted above will lead you to this process.

The word 'untested' on an MSDS means that they have not tested it material on humands and that there have not been enough accidental exposures to determine its effects in this manner.

An EPA ombudsman is blowing the whistle -- actually, more like screaming into a bullhorn -- about Corexit. He's the one who claims the stuff can atomize cells. Is he grandstanding? Is he revealing uncomfortable truths?

The MSNBC video is the second one at the below link, but before you get to the interview, you'll have to bear an opening Olbermann segment about an investigation into whether Transocean, BP, Halliburton or all of the above lied to regulators, faked test results, and obstructed justice.

I don't endorse the views on the below-linked-to blog's website, but it's the only place I could find the EPA guy's full interview on MSNBC.


You're wrong on one point: Nalco didn't release the ingredients voluntarily, the EPA just posted them on its website out of the blue. You're right on the point that they've released the ingredients, but not proportions:

"In fact, one potentially significant detail for advocates seeking to perform independent dispersant tests was left out of the EPA's online disclosure: the proportions in which the chemical ingredients are mixed to produce Corexit."


I would argue that BP strong-armed the EPA. Or there weren't ready stockpiles of less toxic dispersants. But I don't see anyone disputing the lede in that NYT article. BP has ties with Nalco. Nalco's dispersant is more toxic than the alternatives -- and relatively less effective in Gulf waters.

Atomize cells how would that look like?
But I don't think it's as bad as they're saying it is, but don't get me wrong it's still bad to use large quanities of corexit without knowing its effects, but they seem to be promoting an agenda of some sort. I don't know what it may be or why.

Heiro-of-Syracuse on August 1, 2010 - 8:52pm [snip]... but they seem to be promoting an agenda of some sort. I don't know what it may be or why.

Speculating, yet maybe EPA's Kaufman gives a clue when he said: "... There was a political decision made to let BP take the lead as opposed to the government being proactive, as we used to be."

Possibly, but we are still in the realms of speculating are we? I'm not claiming there are conspiracies involve but that the truth lies somewhere between the "nothing wrong here" and "this corexit stuff will atomonize your cells and kill you" camps.
Both sides seem extream and I'm trying to balance both of them.
People seem to jump to these independent articles simply because of that reason, they are frustrated with BP and would rather go to everyone but them for information. Problem is every side has their bias and the studies vary between these alternate sources.

I'm not taking sides. However, there are certain facts we can not deny...

bookmark image

Medill Money Mavens -- Nalco Holding set to report first earnings impacted by oil spill

Logo courtesy Nalco Company

Written By: Traci McMillan on July 26, 2010

Nalco Holding Company is a stock to watch this week as it reports its first earnings impacted by strong sales of Corexit, the companys chemical dispersant used by BP to help clean up the Gulf oil spill.
path: Public ~> Gulf Oil Disaster
originally posted: 2010-08-02 02:29:23
Some highlights...

  • The water treatment company’s stock, which is up some 30 percent over the past year
  • BP has bought more than 1.6 million gallons of Corexit and has more that 506,000 gallons on hand *
  • Drab approximated the price of Corexit to be around $50 a gallon ($85 to $90 million in revenue)
  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is Nalco’s largest institutional investor, holding over 9 million shares.
  • Nalco is scheduled to release its earnings for the second quarter Tuesday after market close and to hold a conference call Wednesday at 9 a.m. central time.

* -- Brian Drab, a William Blair & Company analyst

Gulf Oil Dispersants Unlikely to Be Endocrine Disruptors and Have Relatively Low Cell Toxicity, Tests Find

It's an encouraging article, but there's a bit of a devil in the details:

"None of the substances showed significant endocrine disruption activity and cytotoxicity was not seen until dispersants were tested at concentrations above 10 parts per million, the scientists said.

However, they note that "there are other routes by which chemicals can cause endocrine disruption, as well as other types of toxicity that have not been tested for here."

Please also note that the tests were on mammalian cells, ergo they tell us little about effects on marine life -- especially tiny marine life like plankton.

And here's another article from Science Daily

Oil Spill Clean-Up Agents Threaten Coral Reefs

There aren't many coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, but there are some. Not long ago scientists stumbled upon breathtaking deep-water reefs at 100 meters and below -- and not many miles from the gusher.

This isn't to say that the dispersant will kill the reefs, or anything else. We just don't know. But we do know Corexit has toxic properties, and it's never been spewed in such a giant quantity, and I'm a little wearisome of the many who are ready to proclaim "Mission Accomplished" in the Gulf.

The British banned it because it interfered with limpets ability to attach to surfaces along the rocky shores in England. The fact of the matter is Corexit is approved for use in dozens of countries, GB being the ONLY exception, due to the limpet issue.

And even in GB, Corexit is banned only for use around rocky shores. It can be used in the open ocean (I believe individual instances have to pass muster with some regulatory body, though).

The ban in Britain is significant since "rocky shores" comprise a great deal of the coastline in the UK and Europe.

I've mentioned in other threads that the GOM is basically muddy bottom. I've also posted the MMS link to the UK test in other threads. The effect of any pollutant on this type of environment will be much greater than in the rocky shore paradigm.The GOM supports much greater diversity in the marshes, estuaries and coastal waters than a gravel/sand environment. The fact that Corexit is banned in Britain because it failed to pass testing in an environment which would rinse away toxins comparatively quickly makes the fact that it was used so profligately in the GOM more horrific. Put it this way: Would you prefer that your neighbor drain his used oil and antifreeze onto your driveway or that muddy patch by the flower bed? Which area is going to be easier to clean? Do you care?

Rocky shore can be found around the coast of the UK and range from the wave exposed headlands of Atlantic coasts to the sheltered algae covered shores of sea lochs. Approximately 34% of the UK coastline comprises rocky shores.

"...Rocky shore habitats are common on the shores of Northwestern Europe and especially the UK...."

"...Exposed sandy, gravel or cobbled beaches are usually cleaned by manual techniques. Although oil can soak into sand and gravel, few organisms live full-time in this habitat, so the risk to animal life or the food chain is less than in other habitats, such as tidal flats..."

What's done is done. If humans elect to expose themselves to whatever we've allowed to be put into the Gulf, that's an informed decision on the part of the individual and I have no problem with that sort of risk taking. What has been perpetrated on the biota of the Gulf of Mexico is another matter entirely. And notice, at this point I separate humans from biota.

The fact that Corexit is banned in Britain because it failed to pass testing in an environment which would rinse away toxins comparatively quickly makes the fact that it was used so profligately in the GOM more horrific.

This continually misses the point. It is not banned in the UK due to toxicity. Even to limpets. Limpets are affected by it because it is a surfactant. It makes it hard for them to stick to the rocks upon which they live. It is as simple as that.

Let me just say as a Biologist, that fighting pollution with pollution seems counterintuitive to me.

"Let me just say as a Biologist, that fighting pollution with pollution seems counterintuitive to me."

That gets my vote for "simple and direct observation" of the day. They can split hairs over what is yet to be decided, but it just doesn't feel right does it?

Well of course a biologist would say that. That is why chemists come up with the stuff. Biologists might test it. For example - Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) + Lye (NaOH) = Salt (NaCl) + Water (H20) . So if you want to remove Hydrochloric acid in a water solution you could add Red Devil Lye. Of course this is an oversimplification, but chemists have to have less intuition I think. All the life sciences have an arts component.

Your statement is entirely dependent upon the definition of "pollution". Petroleum is a naturally occurring product, how can you classify it as pollution? Are the La Brea Tarpits a polluted environment, or should the natural seeps around Baku be targeted for some sort of Superfund cleanup? Good luck with that.

You say you're a biologist. Then you should know that at one point oxygen was a toxic waste product of life on Earth, and until organisms evolved to use oxygen, I guess you could consider it to have been a pollutant. One organism's pollutant is another organism's feast. Who's to decide which is which?

When it becomes a burdern on everyone else like the sea creatures, the citizens of the gulf, and ect. But anyway we should study the results of the bacteria who feast on it, since people are suggesting they may cause damage to the oxygen levels. But we don't have enough data to make an informed decision so the ebst we can hope for is caution.

This is the lowest oil-shilling will go. Really? Your arguing that petroleum spilled into the Gulf of Mexico due to a catastrophic fatal explosion isn't really pollution? I suppose you'd say the same about the Exxon Valdez? The black mats of crude were just augmenting the ocean's chemistry?

It's not pollution because pollution has no definition. Incredible. I suggest you go to the Gulf of Mexico and make this sophisticated, postmodern argument.

And God, I hope you're not in the actual oil industry.

Actually, the article pretty much says that the crisis isn't over, that there's likely a real danger from dispersed oil in the water column, and from methane, which hasn't been measured much, and from Corexit.

"The impacts of the oil, gas and dispersant on the Gulf’s ecosystems will be felt for years, if not decades. We cannot pretend the danger has passed for it has not."

That doesn't exactly sound blithe.

It appears unnamed "political appointees" overrode the EPA's initial order to use something less toxic, essentially allowing BP to discharge as much chemical cocktail as they pleased. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eN4MJFeEYuE&feature=player_embedded)

The "everything is going to be fine" crowd is a highly dangerous group of people.

Energy Bulletin posted this article

Nature stunner: Global warming blamed for 40% decline in the ocean's phytoplankton
by Joe Romm
Scientists may have found the most devastating impact yet of human-caused global warming — a 40% decline in phytoplankton since 1950 linked to the rise in ocean sea surface temperatures. If confirmed, it may represent the single most important finding of the year in climate science.http://www.energybulletin.net/node/53633

As the article notes phytoplankton create 50% of the O2 in the atmosphere. I had known that ocean acidification kills plankton, and now that sea surface temperatures are also a factor. We continue to perform experiments on our planets atmosphere, land and oceans as if it weren't the source of our very existence.

O2 has been depleting on planet earth - so far about .03% in the past 20 years - http://www.o2planet.com/articles/o2changing.pdf . But if we keep adding insult to injury we may well tip the planet over into not just a planet uncomfortable due to heat, unpredictable for growing crops, but also a planet that is simply uninhabitable due to anoxia (see Michael Benton's book, When Life Nearly Died on the end Permian extinction)

So BP wants to move on to help its bottom line, our gov't says see no oil on the beaches all is fine, but saying all is fine doesn not make all fine. Thanks to Lotus for the two Ben Raines articles. They left Alaska and said all was well, but the herring never came back. See no oil, must be all gone, nothing to see folks, go home, be happy, and don't forget to shop, the economy is depending on you buying stuff you don't need made with stuff that is killing our world.

I think the opposite, people who are optimistic about this are needed. I don't buy it when people feel the need to make everything seem desolate and hopeless.
As for the article itself, it doesn't seem to give any answers just outlining the bleakness. Since you're so concerned tell us how we can reverse acidfication and bring back all the dead photoplankton.

Stop burning fossil fuels Heiro. Just stop. Accept all the consequences as better than the consequences of not stopping.

What I think needs to be done, no one wants to do or will admit that it is doable. So half measures, technofixes that still rely on fossil fuels are proposed. But they don't go far enough. Everyone wants to keep the 1st world party going (in the first world, they don't care to see how people who make their junk in the third world live - yes live on $2 or even $1 a day. Heck if those people can live on that so can we eh?)

Optimism is the last thing we need. We need severe pessimism all round or the really tough choices will never be made and we will baby step ourselves into oblivion.

Most don't live on that, hence the high mortality rates. But we're making progress toward moving away from fossil fuels. As for that last statement, pessimism never gets anyone anywhere. It's not knoweldge it's a mentality that stinks of self-pit and defeatism. Something we can all do without.
Optimist say yes to life. Pessimist say no or what's the point. Don't be afraid to be a fool.

I think this optomist-pessimist thing gets taken to extremes, in the sense that I don't think there is quite the distinction you make. When faced with death or some equally dire prognosis it is said that one will pass through 5 stages of grief. I'd like to suggest that the optomist as you see it is in one of the first 3 stages, while the pessimist as you see it is in one of the last 2.

You're making it sound like the pessimist is the mature one here as everyone knows that that the last two stages of greif deal with compramise and acceptance which are seen as mature attitudes whereas you're making my optimism sound like I'm in denial or frustrated. Which I am not.

This is not a question of maturity, except perhaps in the sense that someone acquainted with the topic longer has the possibility to has come to grips with the crisis, whereas a novice will not have had the soak time. In any case, you could also be in anger or bargaining. :)) Denial is also possible.

Consider this. If you believe that the "Green Revolution" was fueled by oil, and if you also believe that oil is a finite resource that is dwindoling as we speak, then the only possible good outcome is if an alternative (hopefully less harmful) is found and proselitised in a timely manner. You would also have to believe that the means to replentish the 100 or so other dimishing but required metals and compounds necessary to continue our way of life are also substituted.

Add to that our way of life (interest demands this) will lead to an exponential growth of population to support previous generations, you might come to the conclusion that there is no forward motion without some pain. So if that is the case, then the nature of the pain is what we are haggling on, that is if you are a pessimist, ie someone that has come to the conclusion that we're screwed if we stay on the current path. In fact, you may come to hope for early change for the sake of your children and grandchildren, since delay for some technofix, would jepardise their futures if it didn't arrive in time, or maybe didn't arrive at all.

Truly evaluate the corporate situation. In fact, try to determine a way that you can exit your current way of life that does not require you to use the current way of life, and depend upon it for your sustainance. We don't train jacks of all trades. Having gone through that exercise, do you really believe that our way of life will change in the near future even if you believed it was necessary? And Joe Sixpack? What would happen if he had to choose between a 6-pack or diapers. Now there is hell to pay.

I understand.
And I think it's a great way of thinking to consider the lives of your children and grandchildern and the world you leave behind. Though your last point sort of confused me. Are you saying we won't be able to change our way of life in the near future?
But the question is a lot more complicated. Since you can only change so much. I can ride a bike as oppose to a car or walk but I can't help but use our way in life in other ways especially since it be more pratical to do so.
Though I still believe pessimism is dangerous. You can say it means regonizing the dangers of our situation but it does nothing to change them because they believe it's too late.
But when you respond to this please try to make it easier for me to understand since this is a pretty complicated subject.

Just a little light humor re: pessimist/optimist. Read it on TOD a month ago...stole it as mine:

The pessimist sees the glass as half empty
The optimist sees it as half full
The engineer asks why you used a glass twice as big as you needed.

The Beancounters ask why you used a glass twice as big as you need in my company!

The Beancounters ask why you paid twice as much for the glass.


A Creole justs drinks out of the faucet or his hands.

But back at the "static kill" thread, why did you and Nessus seem to be amused when dicussing the possibility of global collapse. I figured since you're quoting me, I might as well ask. Cause I didn't quiet get the amusement factor.

HOS - Didn't realize I was cutting in on your comment. Sorry about that, chief. I was just teasing Nessus with a healthy dose of dark humor.

I have a very negative opinion of how our society will respond when the worst aspects of PO kick in. I have absolute faith that we'll do whatever is necessary the maintain BAU to whatever extent is possible no matter what it takes. And that would include doing our part to push the rest of the globe faster and farther into collapse.

Nothing to brightens one day like good old fashion gallow's humor.
But is this collapse economic or something like nucular war? I wouldn't worry about the lattter because fear coupled with the world slowly reducing it's arsenal is helping us moving away from that.

HOS -- Late so I have to be brief. I anticipate that when the worst of PO hits there's a fair chance IMHO that we'll see what I coined some time ago as the MADOR protocol (similar to the MAD of the Cold War). China and the USA will use their economic, political and, if necessary military power, to usurp global resources to the detriment of other societies. We’ve seen the USA do just that to some degree over the last 40 years. China has been aggressively pursuing a similar approach for around 10 years. An example if you haven’t noticed: China has contractually tied up much Venezuelan crude that Gulf Coast refineries has long assumed would be theirs.

As I said: a very dark view of the future. So dark that it’s easy to be glib about it. I see virtually no action by either country to avoid this situation. PO will only hurt if you don’t have ready access to. PO for the rest of the globe will appear very different than PO will manifest in the USA and China IMHO. I figure you have only two reactions to my thesis: cry or laugh.

I can take a third option and say that I don't think either side would engage in a war, we are too dependant on each other which I guess is our MAD, but on an economic level. It saddens me to see things move toward that direction.
But this can be avoided with investing in alternate fuel, like solar, geothermal, and wind energy. As for Peak oil, I'm unsure haven't we said year after year that oil will run out within twenty years or so? And we've been saying this since the sixties or so I think.
But to ease your worries I promise that when I go and finish college and get a job I'll try my best to work toward other sources.

I tried to get access to the original Nature article without much luck to see what the authors actually said about surface temperature, sadly it was behind a paywall.

A decline in phytoplankton of 40% due to a rise in ocean surface temperature due to global warming?? Local, and seasonal variations in temperatures clearly far exceed the global warming temperature rise.

My guess is that the reason(s), if the data are correct, are far more complex.

Apathy is dangerous, and BAU too. But so is overuse of an idea or meme. And reliance on correlation -> causation.

It appears here that everythings dangerous.

Now going back on the topic of the static kill, I see most people aren't pleased with it, which is making me worry because I want this done. A bottom kill has been proposed by many here as a more pragmatic solution to ending this crisis but why would BP not see that? I'm certain they are smart enough the more vailable solution. So for those who doubt the effectiveness of the static kill, why do you think BP would go through with it?

Probably because they have no confidence that the bottom kill will succeed by itself. Just an uneducated guess, from someone who is getting far more education then she ever wanted on oil wells.

I was being rather melodramatic in a teasing way. But I do believe my last statement that they should be cautious instead of bold. At least right now, no need to do any daring risk at least not right now.

I come at this optimism/pessimism issue from a slightly different perspective.

I believe that separate but large percentages of people see the world as either very dangerous, or full of opportunity. These views have significant effects on both their perceptions and their behavior.

Those who see the world as dangerous see in daily events plenty of support for their view, and therefore have no reason to challenge it. As a consequence they often take a very defensive stance, and often are very uncomfortable with significant change. They seek a feeling of security.

Those who see the world as full of opportunity see in daily events plenty of support for their view, and therefore have no reason to challenge it. As a consequence they are always on the look-out for opportunities of which they will be able to take advantage. For some of them the goal is a feeling of success, for others it is the process that they enjoy.

Each take a look at the examples of the other segment as exceptions to the norm. Those who see danger, see success as rare because it is either hard earned in the face of adversity, or a product of luck.

Those who see opportunity see the dangers of which the other segment speaks as challenges that they will overcome, although sometimes at the beginning they may not know how.

The anecdote that I use to illustrate this is Roger Bannister's quest for the 4-minute mile. Many contemporaries were trying to break that barrier, but had not succeeded. There is a legend that says that many experts believed at the time that that barrier could not be broken by human beings.

It is entirely possible that the ones who hadn't broken the barrier did not believe it could be broken but wanted to try anyway. I suspect that Roger Bannister believed it could be broken, and set out to achieve that goal. He did, and became world famous.

The point of the anecdote is that after Roger Bannister broke the barrier, so, within months, did others.

I believe that resulted from their knowledge that it was no longer an issue of whether the 4-minute mile could be achieved. They could now focus on how to achieve it.

One of the reasons why Terry Gilliam's movie about the Baron von Munchasen is one of my favorites is because it celebrates human kind's ability (even though we often don't take advantage of it) to see beyond what is believed possible, to dream of things yet to come.

President Kennedy did that, and it has become one of the great legacies of his tenure, both as an achievement and as a theme.

Martin Luther King did it also, and it has become one of his great legacies, both as an achievement and as a dream.

That is my view of what I regard as an important, because it is consequential, difference between the two.

If we take the conservative approach, the path of pessimism, we will always seek the comfortable, believing the new makes our lives more dangerous, and are very unlikely to move forward. Recluses take that approach to the extreme, and become very lonely as a consequence, believe me.

When we follow the path of optimism, we will fall sometimes and skin our knees, and it may take some time to gather our courage to go forward again, but somehow the damage is rarely what we were afraid it might be, and if we learn from the failure we can better move ahead.

I like the phrase, "Good judgement comes from experience which comes from bad judgement."*


*(If anyone knows the origin of that maxim I would appreciate being told.)

Thanks for the inspiring speech David.

But you still sort of made it hard to choose a side because you outlined faults with both ways of thinking. I try to remain hopeful but I can't see how anymore. A significant majority of people see problems with the static kill and I don't have the knoweldge to know if they are right or wrong. Plus after this is all over we have an untold amount of problems to face that we aren't even sure what most of them are or their consequences. Plus that isn't the worse part, instead we are screwed in every other angle and while I believe we may one day over come them. This board's pessimism is making me wonder if I really am a fool.

I see this all as irrelevant. Either the well gets killed or it doesn't and no one knows what will happen yet despite whatever probabilities are assigned. Suck it up and wait it out.

That's very nice of you. It was a fun discussion no need to call it irrelevant because there has been far more off topic discussions on the oildrum than whether or not we should be happy or skeptical. A wise person, snakehead, understands the value of different perspectives.

At an individual level various perspectives can give comfort or cause disturbance, but neither has any bearing on the outcome. Everybody here wants the devil well to die, except for perhaps a few lurkers who want disaster for their own purposes. Nobody wants that well dead more than I do. But that has nothing whatsoever to do with the outcome. Posters like Rockman and rovman and others have spent invaluable time and effort here, trying to educate best they can and I can't express enough appreciation for their time and effort. But no one actually knows at this point what will happen.

And I appreciate their efforts too. But I've followed this story since late April and have grown attached to what's happening. But it's not as personal because I live over in California and rely on you guys to educate me.
Anyway I'd like to see more from the discussion about the coastlines being moved back a bit...because that's something we should look into, the corexit debate has been done to death and I'd like to know about the wetlands and what I can do to help.

There's no easy answer to that. Over time, it's inexorable. I've lived in several east coast locations and watched as "fixes" are implemented to save various beaches, keep islands from disappearing, etc. Over time, it's all in flux. Coasts are no more mutable than any other locations but it takes less time for the effects to be apparent.

Walk outside tonight. Look at the sky. Think about time and distance and place.

Will do.
But I too used to a live out near coast out west and have seen the coastline move back a bit. But the changes were always minor because I'm a rather young guy. So I wouldn't know just how dramatic these changes were as much as somebody like my father would.

I'm a coast fanatic. The sea is dangerous but it's in our blood, literally. I've sacrificed more than I should have to get next to it more than once.

At some relatively brief time ago, it all was Gondwana. Before that, who knows. Long after we're gone, ??? That's not to say that actions shouldn't be undertaken. But no matter what they are and how effective they might seem to be to us, it'll all change.

They will, but we can learn to adapt to these changes since they tend to span over many years.
But I'm a supporter of doing what we can to preserve our coast.

"Good judgement comes from experience which comes from bad judgement.".....(If anyone knows the origin of that maxim I would appreciate being told.)

I have heard it attributed to Will Rogers

For all the pros who have an explanation for everything here. Can someone explain me the following video
Especially around 1:27

Saw this particular type of occurrence a few days ago. It does not appear to be related to ROV thruster operation. Perhaps BP secretly buried a subsea floor "reverse sprinkler" (dispenses Corexit) every few minutes "just because we can"...

Isn't there an ROV hovering in the midst of the disturbance? That is what it looks like to me, based on the lights above the disturbed area. Looks like ROV thruster wash to me. (Insert obligatory "not an expert" here, though why one needs to be an expert to discern the obvious is beyond me.)

What I see in that video is a horizontal flow of seawater from right to left at the top of the frame. It suggests to me that there is a nozzle or propeller out of view at top right. The flow of water is entraining surrounding water and bringing it in a near circular arc from the bottom up to the top. Occasionally, turbulence causes bottom sediments to be sucked up and blown away.

Just my ¤0.02 worth.

Somebody here was saying a few weeks ago that 2010 was always going to be a bad year for the Gulf's sea turtles (thanks, according to today's Houston Chronicle, to the unusually cold winter). Still . . .

As of Friday, rescuers had recovered 292 live turtles and 498 dead, according to the Deepwater Horizon response fish and wildlife collection report. Scientists have said most of the recovered turtles are Kemp's ridley.

Schroeder said that it may take years before the effects of the oil spill on Kemp's ridley turtles are known. Landry said proposals to examine the blood and tissue of turtles for evidence of oil contamination have been proposed but are awaiting funding.

Landry and Shaver are encouraged that turtles they have tagged for satellite tracking are all alive, and several have moved past the oil spill area and are off the Florida coast. "That tells me the impact is not acute now," Landry said.

Continued good health to youse, little turtle guys.

The bacteria eat the oil. Then what eats the bacteria? Is next year going to be a bumper shrimp harvest?

"Continued good health to youse, little turtle guys."


I've been told that captured sea turtles are being fed a mixture of mayonnaise and vegetable oil to flush the petroleum through their digestive tracts.

Here's to an early return to a more palatable diet, not-so-little turtle guys!

I'm a long way from the Gulf of Mexico and I continue to be amazed at how the Macondo well story has been disappearing from local TV, radio and print news coverage. Yesterday, the story had become a brief wire service report, without critical analysis, buried on page 6 of our local paper.

Apparently, the press has only two modes: hysteria or apathy.

At least those closer to the scene continue to follow the story, as demonstrated by this editorial in today's Times-Picayune:

The Times-Picayune
Sunday, August 01, 2010


BP's oil lingers, seen and unseen: An editorial

Oil is no longer spewing from the damaged Macondo well head; Tropical Storm Bonnie didn't push crude deep into Louisiana's coastal wetlands as some feared, and commercial fishers are finally returning to areas east of the Mississippi River.

Those are undeniably positive developments for the Gulf Coast, which for months has been reeling from BP's runaway well and the environmental and economic damage it has caused. But as hopeful as those signs are, they do not mean that the disaster is over.

Unfortunately, that's been the tone of recent media reports as well as chatter in the blogosphere. But the success of the temporary cap in stopping the gusher is certainly not the end of the story.

BP has not even permanently capped the well. That's something that could happen early this week, if the so-called static kill process succeeds. Failing that, closure will depend on the relief well that's due to be completed later this month.

But even then, this region still has a long way to go in recovering from a disaster that fouled the Gulf of Mexico with tens of millions of gallons of crude oil.

Assessing the extent of the damage to natural resources, as required under the federal Oil Spill Act and a similar Louisiana law, is itself a lengthy process, and one that has yet to begin. Dozens of public trustees -- federal agencies as well as the affected states -- will participate in the damage assessment process. Gov. Jindal has appointed the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority as Louisiana's lead agency for trustee issues. That agency was told this week that it could take seven to 10 years to determine how much BP and other parties will have to pay.

Nor is the damage over. Oil may be less visible on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico now that the gusher has been plugged, but just because it's harder to see, that doesn't mean it is gone. Scientists and oil spill experts say that about 175 million gallons of oil-based pollution is still in the Gulf. It's there in tiny droplets below the surface, but those will continue to come up as slicks in weeks and months to come.

That's not the only manifestation. Two captains of so-called "vessels of opportunity" helping with the cleanup told Times-Picayune reporter Bob Marshall that they saw more oil at South Pass on Tuesday than they have during the entire crisis.

"I don't know where everyone else is looking, but if they think there's no more oil out there, they should take a ride with me," charter captain Mike Frenette said.

Another captain, Don Sutton, saw floating tar balls for 15 miles from South Pass to Southwest Pass. "And that wasn't all we saw. There were patches of oil in that chocolate mousse stuff, slicks and patches of grass with oil on them," he said.

Mr. Frenette said other captains told him they had seen long ribbons of oil off the coast at Empire.

Bob Dudley, who is taking over as BP's chief executive officer when Tony Hayward steps down Oct. 1, said that it's "not too soon for a scaleback." In areas where there is no oil, "you probably don't need to see people in hazmat suits on the beach," he said.

But oil pollution could continue to show up in areas that seem to be free of it. BP must continue to be ready to move in quickly and aggressively to clean it up.

Oil that's lurking below the surface doesn't have to look ugly to be a problem. "Oil is composed of many, many more components than the black stuff you see," said Doug Rader, chief ocean scientists for the Environmental Defense Fund. "And when that black stuff is gone, there's still plenty of those components -- many of which are extremely toxic -- still in the water."

How those toxins will affect marine life and the health of the Gulf for months and years to come remains an unanswered question.

Mr. Dudley said that the company is not pulling back and remains committed to making things right. Louisianians continue to expect the company to honor that commitment.

He did not agree with suggestions that the environmental effects have been exaggerated, and that's reassuring. "Anyone who thinks this wasn't a catastrophe must be far away from it," he said.

But the fact is, most of the country is far away from the Gulf of Mexico. Now that people aren't seeing images of the oil geyser every day, it's likely that national attention will evaporate - far more quickly than the oil.

Louisianians have learned the hard way that a narrative about a disaster can take on a life of its own. That certainly happened after Hurricane Katrina, when some questioned whether New Orleans should be rebuilt. We had to walk a fine line, keeping the disaster on the radar screen without scaring people away.

The oil spill presents a similar challenge. Florida hotels and time shares want vacationers to return. Louisiana fishers and restaurants want people to eat Gulf seafood with confidence. Charter boat captains want tourists back.

But we can't let the story be that everything is just back to normal, because it isn't. Not yet. And until it is, Louisiana needs to make sure that BP is on the job.

Even folks here on The Oil Drum seem to have scaled back their discussion of what's going on with the kill efforts, the monitoring of the BOP, and the effects of emulsified oil and dispersants.

As oxidatedgem wrote earlier in this thread: The "everything is going to be fine" crowd is a highly dangerous group of people.

Apparently, the press has only two modes: hysteria or apathy.

It has always been so, at least in my lifetime. Probably long before†. Very frustrating. I guess most people will have forgotten about this years before the official investigators release their final reports.

Scoop - Evelyn Waugh, 1938

Well I wish for them to have a speedy recovery, most of the oil may appear gone but it's effects are still there. Hopefully things can return to normal one day in the gulf.

Hopefully things can return to normal one day in the gulf

I hope they don't return to normal. Normal is destroying the Gulf. I hope for better than normal.

  • Elimination of overfishing
  • Reduction in agricultural runoff
  • Reduction of counter-productive intervention in river courses
  • less use of hydrocarbon fuels per-capita
  • etc

No need to interpret that litteraly. What I meant was before that icky gloop ruined their beaches.
But I agree with most of what you said, people should take better care of the gulf and work toward keeping alive and well.

Yes sorry, that wasn't aimed at you.

I was just musing that the current incident is certainly a very major disaster, but there's also a bigger picture.

assessment teams have found only about 350 acres of oiled marshes, when Louisiana was already losing about 15,000 acres of wetlands every year.

- Time Magazine

If BP is "assessed" or "fined" per acre of fouled marshland that could be used as a benchmark for seeking damages for the other 15,000 acres being lost every year.

Say the cost per acre was one million, then Louisiana could sue the federal government for fifteen billion per year to help fund remedial activities.

sl - Why would La. sue the feds for the 15,000 acres lost every year? The feds have nothing to do with it. Getting the fine from Mother Nature will probably be tricky. The lost land is due to erosion and subsidence. The subsidence has been going on for over 60 million years. Rocks buried 50,000’ under the shore line were deposited in a few feet of water. About the only culpability of the feds is their maintenance of the Miss. River channel preventing the sediment load for renewing the shore line. Today most of the river's sediment load heads out into the deep GOM basin. They could let the Miss. River redirect down the center of the state. That would eventually add tens of thousands of acres every year. But that would destroy the economy of La. as well as much of the USA.

This is off topic, but after reviewing archives and all other possible areas of TOD I couldn't find anything here that will help me so far. So I am going to throw out my questions/requests and hope that I am not stepping on toes or being inappropriate.
I am new to this site and since discovering it I am an avid reader and spend a lot of time here.(What a wealth of information!) There is a community of oil pros here that a newbie could only dream of being acquainted. Having said that I would like to thank the pros that share their hard earned experiences with all.

I have been a small player in the oil field for several years now and have dealt with shallow wells exclusively(6k' and up). Now I am investing in a Wilcox play(10-11k')in central Louisiana. I am hoping to find all the info I can on such wells and hopefully find some one with Wilcox experience that wouldn't mind a swabbing. Usually one can find various forums that are great for do it yourselfers however I haven't found any. Hoping someone here can point me in the right direction. Any helpful hints or links would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

I do not know how much you know about investing either, but my pros tell me unless I have a plan and diversify, take my 10 grand to the casino and bet on black. Usually that makes me realize I am not equipped to invest in such speculations. I wish you well and the bet on black is 1 to 1, odds 1.111 to 1. Behind the line on the craps table has better odds, but it is more difficult to play craps and takes longer than the roulette bet. Good luck.

Sorry jeff...been playeing the younger trends exclusively for quit a few years now. Not current on the Wx

Tin foil man, there is some validity to your 50/50 chance at the casinos and I am a gambling man from an early age but not at table games.
Besides when you are a gear head like me the oil biz is the best game.
There aint nothin like the smell and sound of crude running into your tanks.

Rockman, maybe one day I can play with the big boys too. It would be a real pleasure, as it always is to meet and share stories with the seasoned veterans like yourself.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend guys.

Jeff, one of my very successful entrepeneur friends told me one day years ago, "you have to take a chance." He made educated guesses and took chances. 80% or more turned out great for him. People used to say everything he touched turned to gold. He would try things no one else would. He wasn't in the oil business but the concept must be the same. I'm not in the oil business either so no help from here.

There was a conversation upthread about pessimism and optimism. I forget who said soemthing to the effect that we need to be pessimistic. That's hogwash IMO. We need optimists and I detect that you are one. Good for you. Pessimists are unhappy by nature and optimists are happy. Who wants to be unhappy?

I'm the one who gave that Colbert-esque speech about being an optimist. Where's my credit :D?
Well down below seems to be interesting, why did they rename it static test? Don't they have enough information about the well head these past two weeks have been nothing but good news. So why do they still have doubts?

I read the post about a disappearing coastal community and I have a question. Does coastline ever disappear? Maybe when an island disappears. Maybe it just moves. So if the coastline is moving, where in the heck is the new coastline? How different is the 'new' coast or beach? Is just rolling with it and building new and moving stuff the 'new' beach more economical? I can pretend the new coast was always here if it makes everyone feel better.

Normally barrier islands move around and change shape, but that's not what's happening in SE Louisiana. Dry land turns to marsh and marsh turns to open water. Barrier islands disappear. Louisiana doesn't have much beach left, so it's really hard to say where the shoreline is.

The land is subsiding, partly from extraction of oil, gas, and salt, but mainly because the land is deep, loose sediment deposited by the river that is still settling and compacting; also I suppose there is significant organic material in the soils slowly decomposing.

The land area used to be maintaining and growing from sediment deposition, but levees on the river have stopped that process. Find the Chandeleur Islands on a map. That used to be part of the coastline.

My questions are,
1. Can we really 'stop' it or even slow it down?
2. If we can is it worth it?
3. Should we make all Americans pay for it?
4. Why not just adjust to a new coastline and rebuild that way?

Gob's got it mostly right (also Rockman of course). Most of Plaquemines Ph didn't exist 1000 years ago. 3000 years ago, all of Chandeleur sound was marsh. We are talking about a naturally ephemeral landscape. The natural condition here is that the river, its levees and delta avulse back and forth across the shelf from western Lousiana to Mississippi, but now we have kept most of the River and sediment in a single engineered channel which sends marsh-building sediment and fresh water off into deep water where it can not create marsh and swamp. The natural subsidence due to sediment compaction is no longer balanced by sediment laden floodwaters, the River is not allowed to avulse to a new location. On the negative side, all the canals dredged by the timber and oil industry in the 20's and 30's accelerated loss of the marsh. On the plus side, diversion of 30% of the Mississippi R flow and 50% of sediment load of the combined Red/Miss. R down the Atchafalaya and Wax Lake man-made outlet has created new freshwater cypress swamp in a large area that was once open water and is building two new small deltas in Atchafalaya Bay. So, getting to your questions:

1) Can we stop it or even slow it down?
YES, We know how to do this, but haven't had the political will and funding to do it -- backfill historical canals mainly dredged for timber and oil before the 1940s - build major freshwater diversions of Miss. River to the east and west of the the modern levees to build/rebuild new marsh

2) Is it worth it?
My personal opinion is yes, but it's a fair question - culture, history, seafood industry etc., the bulk of Americas wetlands

3) I would like to see federal ocs oil royalties pay for it (and soak BP too).

4) Why not adjust ...
New coastline will be in Baton rouge, northshore of Lake Pontchartrain "highlands," there will be no wetlands, no wetlands ecosystem, no oysters, shrimp, fish spawning grounds - it's not just moving the coastline, it's destroying Americas largest and most prolific wetlands.

Xtra: Not to mention that rebuilding Barataria and St Bernard wetlands will protect New Orleans from the worst of Hurricane storm surge, and don't get me started on why it's important to protect one of America's great cultural treasures.

Astute question, TFHG. Coastline doesn't disappear, it moves. The only way coastline itself disappears is like you said, if the actual length of coast is reduced, for geometric reasons.

Ocean encroachment on land--known in coastal science circles as transgression (as opposed to ocean retreat, or regression)--is the result of several, often related, processes. One is sea level rise, one of the dominant concerns of our day. I'll come back to that in a moment. Another is simple erosion, where wave energy eats into unconsolidated sediment (like on the eastern shore of Cape Cod--the entire Cape will be gone in about 60,000 years, because it's a bunch of moraines and glacial-meltwater river deltas--bedrock is below sea level). In some places, like along barrier islands, one end is being eroded, and that sediment is later deposited on the other tip, so the island moves. (The coast is a very dynamic place.) A third mechanism is subsidence, the compaction of sediment due to weight above it. (The crust itself sinks below sufficient weight, exactly like a rowboat when a person steps into it, but that's not our concern here.) The subsidence we're concerned with here, like on Mississippi delta, is the result of natural sediment compaction deeper down within the delta. The problem is no fresh sediment is being laid down on top of it to overcome the loss of volume due to compaction. This is because of our flood controls on the river, which in some cases dam the sediment up, or in other cases make the river's flow faster and more efficient, and result in the sediment being carried farther out into the Gulf than before, and being deposited much deeper than before (the Balize lobe is currently active). So subsidence is the major concern in southern Louisiana, and it does result in the appearance of the sea actually rising relative to the land around.

But sea level rise, on the continent in general, doesn't create that impression. As the sea rises, at 1-2mm/year, it carries the beach with it. The beach is a product of the local wave/tide/wind climate. The nearshore and beach of course have effects on the waves, through refraction and causing them to break due to local depth, but the overall wave energy and its direction with respect to the shoreline, in the long run, win out. If sea level rises, it will simply build the beach further up. Ocean transgression simply pushes the beach farther inland as the ocean advances, and rebuilds the beach relative to its current level. So for a given type of beach, you'd never notice the water creeping up, because the beach itself is a product of the local sea level. (That's another reason why Inhofe's comment that he hasn't noticed the water at the beach getting any higher is especially stupid.)

What we lose with coastal erosion is upland, not shoreline. As long as there's an ocean and dry land, there will be shoreline. How much ocean and how much dry land, is the question. The entire midwest US was once underwater. During the last glacial maximum, the shoreline was about 100 miles or so (depending on the shelf slope) farther out than it is now.

Excellent discussion, Agramante. Cycles of transgression and regression create a distinctive stratigraphic section where layers of sand-shale-limestone-shale-sand are repeated vertically. In cross section, they are seen to be wedges that represent the location of the shoreline over time.

I think what most folks cannot think far enough ahead to for this one simple fact. Here in Gulf Shores if we made the first block all public beach and moved all structures north one block, we would have one of the most famous and visited beaches in the WORLD. It would be one of the most beautiful too. The problem is the current owners would have none of it, though their investment would grow tenfold. Government seems like the answer, but they are too corrupt. Maybe the big one (CAT 5 direct hit) would not be so bad, if not for the risk to life.

My advisor likes to say (and he's not really joking) that Lyell, with his assumption of quiescent, horizontal deposition, set geology back a hundred years. There's an excellent book, The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record by Derek V. Ager--you're probably familiar with it--which dwells, among other things, on the episodic nature of events which are recorded in the stratigraphic record. As with shoreline erosion: most or all of the work is done by severe storms, which sweep the beach sand away and take out a chunk of upland. The beach is then rebuilt during fair weather. Even without a storm to eat away upland, sea level rise rebuilds the beach higher on the upland, and deepens the existing lagoons. There are areas in Rhode island where, seaward of the sand sheet, ancient lagoonal peat crops out--exactly the wedge-type stratigraphy you mentioned.

I saw a story on CNN yesterday where the news head was interviewing a local spokesman for the Gulf fishing industry...I found reference to the story here:


I am not sure what to think...is everything really A-OK? Are folks perhaps cutting corners and turning blind eyes?

Who knows? All I know is that my wife gave me death eyes the three times I commented jokingly about self-cooking gulf shrimp or when I wondered where the shrimp on the menu cam from.

Some folks just don't even want to talk about anything unpleasant.

Today on CNN.com there is a link to a video story: : Was the oil disaster overblown?

The answer IMO: Yes, by some people...but overall, this was still a highly significant and bad event.

Of course it was a bad event but not for the reason people think. The damages of this spill will be long term but this was hardly the end of days the media tried to potray it as. But what do you mean about cutting corners and blind eyes?
I was certain that things were going well for the kill effort and the clean up operation seems to be doing well, so what do you mean?

But I'm glad you could at least find something to poke fun at during these times. Laughter is good even if you're the only one doing it :D

What I meant...was that should I trust that the FDA, USDA, EPA, and EIEIO agencies who have just given a clean bill of health to fisheries 'East of the Mississippi' have done a thorough, accurate , and credible job? Or should I wonder whether there is incredible pressures to give the answer everyone wants to hear?

In my post I said "I don't know'. I am wondering out loud here.

The U.S. government has a history of downplaying or out-and-out lying in some cases about environmental toxins...I hope the U.S. government agencies are playing it straight to the best of their ability now wrt this latest pronouncement about the safety of GOM seafood from the stipulated areas.

I cast no aspersions on the well kill effort...from my humble, non-expert position, things seem to be going well so far.

I do not think that the majority (or 'main steam') media tried to portray this even as an 'end of days' phenomenon. Certainly many individuals and bloggers went ballistic and hyperbolic.

In sum, I am very glad that the well has been capped and that a permanent kill seems assured, and that the oil seems to be dissipating/being eaten by bacteria, and I would like the fisherman to get back to business of suatinable GOM harvests as soon as the product is safe, which seems to be now. I am also glad that BP seems to be doing the right and honorable things by finishing the well kill, trying to clean the waters and shores as best possible, and compensating economic collateral damage victims fairly, including the idled oil patch workers.

I also want the oilmen to get back to work and for more oil wells to be drilled just as soon as credible fault analysis has been performed and improved safety hardware and standards and practices have been devised...that needs to be accomplished as quickly as possible to get people back to work and to assure that more oil is produced.

We need that oil to in the next decades as we hopefully develop other energy sources such as nuclear fission, solar, wind, geothermal, clean-er coal, more NG, etc.

My wife did not like my attempt at humor wrt the self-grilling shrimp...not because she was offended by the affront to the environment, but because she did not want to deal with thinking about it and she did not want people to think I was 'wacko' by even bringing the subject up.

That's OK, all of the engineers at work laughed...not that they dis the environment, but they get it that a little gallows humor is a defense mechanism and an ice-breaker to acceptably mention environmental concerns amongst an otherwise rather conservative crow who generally disdains environmentalists, environmental regulations, etc.

The U.S. government has a history of downplaying or out-and-out lying in some cases about environmental toxins...I hope the U.S. government agencies are playing it straight to the best of their ability now wrt this latest pronouncement about the safety of GOM seafood from the stipulated areas.

I find this to be spot on. Here in Penna. one of my favorite "PA approved trout streams" is fed by an aquifer, which is under a Federal Superfund site. Long story short, I found this out many years before the State started issuing fish consumption warnings with our fishing licenses. If the Feds and States are not willing to publish the data, by which they come to their conclusions about public safety, they do not have public safety in mind.

If the waters east of the Mississippi are safe, show me the money. Where is the data, which this decision is based on? The word of a corrupt government means squat, when financed by industry.

Please pardon the rant.

The same agency, NOAA, and the same oil company, BP, that denied the existence of underwater plumes, suppressed information about the flow rate, and now direct samples of virtually all dead wildlife to an oil-industry lab, tell us that the vast majority of oil is naturally dispersing and practically gone.

What a joke!

Deep-water leaks release only a fraction of the oil to the surface. Throw in 2 million gallons of the mystery dispersant, and what you've got is an undersea nightmare. Slowly unfolding, conveniently invisible.

Though I appreicate some skeptimism I'm not sure if we can be assure that this will result in an undersea nightmare. We have reason to believe that BP and NOAA are trying to downplay certain effects of this disastor but we can't be sure of exactly what they are.

With respect, I wish we could stop saying that BP denied the existence of undersea plumes. Tony Hayward did so one time off the cuff, when he was clearly popping off about something he didn't know anything about. It wasn't a conspiracy of the organization.

I wish we could stop saying that NOAA denied the existence of undersea plumes. At a time when NOAA ships under her direction were diligently looking for further evidence of undersea plumes, Jane Lubchenko criticized "media reports" of the early plume-hunting expeditions. If you watched any TV at the time, you recall that newscasts showed pictures of thick oil slicks as they discoursed about vast rivers of oil being discovered deep in the Gulf.

Here are the results of the big NOAA plume coverup so far. They are so inept at hiding the truth, they have somehow left this top-secret document lying around on their website.

Shilling for the industry I see.

Just an "off-the-cuff" remark from BP's CEO, you say. A throwaway comment, really, denying the existence of oil plumes because "oil floats."

Please. He's either an idiot or he's lying, but BP participated in a study about ten years ago that found that only 2 percent of oil from a deep-water leak surfaces.

It's reckless of BP's CEO to contradict established scientific data, especially as it concerns an ecological catastrophe that his company created through what appears to be flagrant criminal negligence.

And it wasn't just Hayward. Here's Mr. "It Depends on What Your Definition of 'Plume' Is" Suttles conceding only a half-inch to the established science.

Even after NOAA, which at first tried to gag scientists and cast aspersions on the plume data, confirmed the plumes, here's Suttles, asked to retract Hayward's denial.

"What some people have asked is: Are there large concentrations of oil under the sea? And those have not been found so far by us or anyone else who's measured this. The oil that has been found is in very minute quantities."

He's either an idiot or he's lying, but BP participated in a study about ten years ago that found that only 2 percent of oil from a deep-water leak surfaces.

Sure, on this occasion, like several others, he's an idiot. He may be a liar too, but in this case he simply didn't know what he was talking about. He's a geologist turned bean-counter turned PR buffoon, and I'd bet when he spoke he hadn't even heard about the Weatherbird finding undersea oil, certainly not about a study done 10 years ago. After all, oil floats.

Got a link on the 98% of oil staying down? That seems awfully low.

Suttles was crawfishing because he couldn't say "the boss is an idiot." His answer was clumsily phrased but not a lie-- the Weatherbird found concentrations of less than 0.5 ppm.

When will you bother to produce any citations proving your claims. Ever hear of emulsions? How about turbulent dispersion?

So many BP apologists crawling around.

Thanks for the added humor, my freind.
Though maybe I should word my comments more carefully, I don't think BP denied the existence of these plumes but I do believe they downplayed quiet a bit of the disastor especially in it's early stages.
But what do these undersea plumes entitle. I've read about them in another article here at the oildrum but I've forgotten what they were about. Though I do recall readig something about small leaks of oil near the well which were expected and nothing to be alamred about.

The plumes are from oil emulsifying, and natural gas dissolving, into the water above the wellhead. Some fraction of the hydrocarbons are trapped in the deep ocean layer (1000-1300 meters depth) and spreading out horizontally as they are being consumed by microbes. The cloud of oil droplets is so rarefied as to be invisible to the eye. At 5 km from the well, most of the plumes thin out into the parts-per-billion range. The concern about the plumes is depletion of oxygen by bacterial respiration.

That doesn't sound good. But will these plumes shut down with the well? Or have we created an unfixable problem?
But I also didn't know that these bacteria depleted oxygen...I hope we find a way to get them under control. Eveything here is a two way sword it seems, these bacteria or microbes eat up the oil but they in turn add a whole new problem to the equation.
Though going back to the topic of the Intox spill, I remember there being an article saying that the microbes did the same thing to their oil, whatever happened to them?

Time Magazine says:

Some scientists worry that the swarms of oil-eating bacteria will lower dissolved oxygen levels; there has been early evidence of modest reductions, though nothing approaching the dead zone that was already proliferating in the Gulf because of agricultural runoff in the Mississippi River basin.

Thanks but I'm not sure how to feel about this. Since the article doesn't scream urgent to me. What do you feel about this?

Regardless of how we feel about it, biodegradation is the only process that can remove most of the remaining hydrocarbons from the Gulf. Although this process cannot go forward without consuming oxygen, it's certainly a good thing that nature has a way of getting rid of the oil and methane.

Yes I get the first part but the oxygen depleting part is what's making me unsure about this. But I sort of figured that the ocean has enough oxygen to go around and the levels will return to normal after the microbes eat up most of the bacteria.

I'm no expert on oceanography nor do I have the slightest clue but I'm to distracted by the overhwelming positive results these past two weeks that I'll refrain from finding reasons to doubt.

The deep layer (>1000 meters) does not mix much with surface layers, so if hypoxia occurs over large areas, there would be long term damage. On the other hand, this layer does not seem very important to sealife in the upper layers. The deep layer is quite rich in dissolved oxygen, so I'd guess hypoxia over a relatively small area would eventually be fixed by horizontal diffusion. As stated above, oxygen depletion in the deep plumes doesn't seem a big problem compared to the seasonal dead zone created by excess nutrients carried by the river. This is a hypoxic zone of 1000 square miles at a depth of 10-20 meters off the coast west of the river mouth.

Well excuse me again but is this good or bad news?
And pelase for my sake just tell me which and explain why...I can't follow along anymore and I'm uncertain whether or not my mood is justified.

Here's my take on what the plumes are and why they matter.

The "plumes" are clouds of droplets of hydrocarbons of varying size and chemical composition. Substantial quantities of dispersant were injected directly into the flow at the wellhead, under high pressure and at low temperatures, producing droplets. Combinations of droplet sizes and chemical composition produce droplets that are not so buoyant that they stream to the surface, but rather rise slowly until, due to differential expansion due to temperature & pressure (relative to the salt water), they are approximately neutrally buoyant. These clouds of droplets tend to occur at relatively consistent depths, presumably due to droplet size & hydrocarbon composition, plus being captured in pycnoclines (stronger than average gradients of density v. depth due to salinity & temperature gradients) for the shallower bands.

Contra Dirk up-thread (who didn't continue after p-chem to take the biochem & physiology to calculate the energetic cost of saltwater fish renal systems continuously pumping out salts), the subsurface hydrocarbons will not be mixed evenly throughout the volume of the gulf like gas molecules in the atmosphere. At these droplet sizes and temperatures, diffusion is very slow, and even hurricane winds don't mix deeper waters.

This particular well and these particular clouds are in part of the gulf with substantial biological activity. Biologically, the issue with the plumes far from shore is that many if not most of the zooplankton & fish larvae out there migrate vertically dirunally: up at night to where the food is, down during the day to reduce risk of predation. Therefore, the bottom of the food chain and the young-of-year fish non-randomly move through the horizontal clouds twice each day. [I don't do fluid dynamics at those Reynolds Numbers so I don't have a feeling for the interaction of small filter feeders with droplets in the same size range.]

We don't know what fraction of the area within, say, 100km of the well has subsurface plumes (1%, 5%, 25%?) so we don't know what fraction of the zooplankton are exposed. Some of the technical difficulties of finding and characterizing these clouds include:

1) fishfinder-frequency SONAR (which can be shot from the hull of the boat >1000m down but not to the bottom) is too low of frequency to detect droplets unless they are in _very_ dense clouds, while higher-frequency SONAR that can detect lower densities of droplets can only detect 10s of meters (all the zooplankton & fluff in the water column are the same size range as the droplets, so the issue is backscatter, not power dissipation), and thus have to be shot from towed platforms. We don't have calibration curves of detection probability as a function of SONAR frequency, droplet size, and distance from transducer.

2) It requires roughly half a day per location to run a fluorometer & DO sensor up the water column to quantify hydrocarbons and oxygen concentrations.

3) Water sample bottles have a substantial rate of failing to open or shut, so there are lots of holes in the data, plus droplets tend to either coagulate or stick to the sides of the bottles as they are brought up, so droplet size has to be measured in situ at depth, and sample bottles are most useful for quantifying hydrocarbon composition.

4) There's a substantial backlog of getting water samples tested for hydrocarbon constituents after each cruise. Note that the report from the early NOAA Thomas Jefferson, Gordon Gunther, Brooks McCall, et al. cruises May 19 - June 19 linked to by Gobbett @ 12:07pm above was released July 20.

We don't know how quickly bacteria will eat the hydrocarbons at those depths and pressures and temperatures. We don't know the rate of droplets colliding and fusing into fewer, larger droplets that will rise toward the surface. We don't know how toxic the various combinations of hydrocarbon & dispersant constituents are to zooplankton or fish larvae. We don't know what fraction of the zooplankton & fish larvae will intersect these clouds. Finally, it's not clear how much data will be collected in order to quantify those impacts.

tp, thanks for a great post, very informative. But do the zooplankton commonly migrate down as far as 1000 meters? I have been thinking that it's very much a lesser evil that the plumes apparently tend to form at great depth.

Regarding the rate of biodegradation, Samantha Joye said at her last press conference they had observed microbial respiration rates of 25 times background level, doubling of microbe populations in as little as 24 hours, and a consumption rate of 1%-5% of the methane stock per day. This was in the deep plumes at peak-level activity, I think 3-5 km from the wellhead. These bugs are very busy, even in the cold depths.

Excellent post, tp. I'd add only one thing: lower frequency fishfinders can in fact see to the bottom (~1600m in some places), but the results are spotty, as there's no good way to check them. As you alluded to, fluorometers consume too much time in lowering and raising to QC many points along a sonar track. So the spottiness of the sonar record can't be characterized as a function of droplet density alone. But we can see plumes down to ~1400m or so...the other problem is that it's impossible to map these plumes, even if the equipment is reliable. They're moving too quickly, on the order of 20 cm/s, which equates to 17.2 km/day, a significant transport distance relative to any map that could be made.


We have slightly different thresholds for "see" or image. 38KHz can reasonably image with reflectances down to 1000-1500m and maybe give a "last returns" of the bottom even deeper; lower frequencies can see deeper (e.g., mapping the bottom and detecting submarines are done at even lower frequencies). As far as I've read, many of the reflectances above the bottom seen in the 38KHz SONAR are not hydrocarbon plumes, at least based on subsequent fluorometry & DO profiling. So for the acoustic imaging there's an estimable rate of false positives, and an unknown and unmeasured rate of false negatives.

I've heard substantially slower velocities for horizontal movement for the deeper plumes; I suspect that until there are more buoys out there giving velocity & direction at a stack of depths, we don't really know. But even at .5-2km/day, mapping of a couple of point values per day plus relatively uncoordinated fixed acoustic transects doesn't characterize what's out there. That said, a 2-stage adaptive sampling protocol for 2 acoustic boats pulling fish with higher frequency SONAR + 4 fluorometry / DO sampling boats could do a pretty good job of mapping & characterizing the moving plumes, especially if we could drop a couple of pingers into water masses that have been sampled, making it easier to track a plume/cloud over time.


You're right about the zooplankton we know about not being down around the 1000-1200m plume; I was too vague about the depoths of the various plumes. The zooplankton diel (my usage of diurnal was technically incorrect) vertical migrations we know about are likely to cross pycnocline-entrained plumes around 15m and 45m, not the 1000-1200m clouds.


I don't know how to post a picture to the comment area...so I posted the link to the wikipedia page.

In this picture taken on the 24th of May, more than two months ago, it sure as hell looks like there is a giant arm of the oil spill headed straight to the southeast...the general direction of the Florida Keys and the Gulf Stream.

I know this may sound like a very ignorant question posed by Simpleton McGee, but what happened to that giant oil slick heading due southeast? Just wondering...

Oh right...dispersant...so now it's gone eh? Back to mother earth?

But really, what happened to it? Did it magically decide not to keep following it's course that it was on?

I see the slick you refer to, I've no idea what happened to it other than the general fate of oil slicks in the open sea: skimmed, dispersed or biodegraded?

First, the Deepwater oil, unlike the black glop from the Valdez, is unusually light and degradable, which is why the slick in the Gulf is dissolving surprisingly rapidly now that the gusher has been capped. Second, the Gulf of Mexico, unlike Alaska's Prince William Sound, is very warm, which has helped bacteria break down the oil.

- Time Magazine

It was not very much oil to begin with. After the first week or so it was described as "sheen and possible tarballs." Apparently the loop current broke down in that area, and the thinly dispersed oil just weathered away after a few weeks of lying there in the sun. I don't know if you are being sarcastic with "back to mother earth," but nature did indeed take care of it, except for about 10% asphalt fraction that will stick around (heh) as tarballs. Otherwise, evaporation, photolysis, and bacterial digestion.

So when oil was impacting the beaches in LA, Miss, Alabama, and Florida the first week of July, the oil which was being taken by ocean currents(which I'm pretty sure I've heard can travel at up to 100 miles a day) to the southeast was taken care of by nature? So I'm supposed to believe that a mass quantity of oil completely dissipates in one portion of the gulf while it is soaking the coastline farther north? The point I'm trying to make is that there were all these reports of oil plumes underneath the surface that were heading in the same direction as the picture shows...it seemed almost inevitable that oil would indeed reach the gulf stream...and now all of a sudden the media starts downplaying every aspect of this oil spill and we are now told to believe that it never reached the gulf stream and that it won't. I'd like to see some concrete evidence, other than an opinion piece by some paid off BP researcher, to prove that it didn't already reach the gulf stream...not that it won't get into it now...three damn months later.

Around May 24, a large loop current eddy, called Eddy Franklin, started to “pinch off” and detach, from the loop current. For a number of weeks, Eddy Franklin and the loop current showed varying levels of connectivity.

varying levels of connectivity tells me that they were still somewhat connected...

Again, I'm no expert on all of this...I just feel like I'm being told to believe something without thinking critically about it...

And regarding the question of pessimism v. optimism...I think both sides have valid points

The surface oil went to the northern coast because of powerful south winds in the latter part of May, followed by eight weeks of south, west, and east winds. Wind is more important than currents, but there have been no southerly currents to speak of affecting the surface slick since the Loop Current broke down in the northern Gulf. Earlier, the Loop Current picked up a small amount of oil and carried it maybe 200 miles south before stalling out.

Any proof of this? Evidence? Links to references or sources that prove your statement?

Of course not, shills don't need to prove a thing. All they do is deny, deny and deny.

I have not even read the thread but I am sick and tired of people trying to shut down the discussion by referring to others as "shills". It's not just that it's pure ad hominem - it's also stupid. Stupid. Stupid! There is no grand conspiracy of "shills" trying to mis-direct your precious opinion requiring a witch-hunt. It ain't worth the effort and, IMHO you think too much of yourself that you would believe that BP has deployed "shills" over the matrix. And yes, I know about the google antics so don't bother. And no, again, I did not read the thread.

NOAA's Lubchenco on Plumes Jn 4
NOAA Asks for Time Out on Oil Plume Research Cruises

Tony (BP CEO) on Plumes Jn 6

Lubchenco on Plumes Jn 8

How the Oil Plume Changed One Scientist's Life

HuffPo on NOAA

some recent comments from Joye (she obviously forgot to check with Gobbet:)

Where has all the Oil Gone (Aug 1)

Joye's press conf from July 13

Samantha Joye's Weekly briefing July 13 (must watch)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLuUXEsxsIc p 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nV7wjZafFs p 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtgFUKiOTgg p 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOaNc6st9xY p 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clIcKAyH3eA p 5

Hi, Guest.

Please quote the bits that give the lie to my comment above or otherwise indicate a coverup.

sorry Gobbet I thought I was responding to this comment http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6800#comment-692081 not the one on the surface oil and the loop current.

A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of Louisiana State University
and Agricultural and Mechanical College
in partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of
Master of Science In The School of Renewable Natural Resources
By Bo Liu B.S., Shanghai Fisheries University, 1998
December 2003


With most formulated industrial products such as Corexit, formulations can change according to price and availability of components. This is always a problem when comparing historical data and the manufacturer doesn't release full information on differences and components.

Typically surfactant formulations usually tend, over time, towards decreasing environmental toxicity, but price in a competitive market can confound that vague generalisation.

Anyway, the thesis reports :_
" Dispersed oils were more toxic than crude oils based on nominal concentrations, but no difference in toxicity of crude oils and dispersed oils was observed based on HC concentrations. No synergistic toxicity action was found between SLC or ANSC and dispersant Corexit 9500 based on HC concentrations.

Survival was relatively high for all three species during the two 24-h field trials,
generally exceeding 83% in crude oil and dispersed oil enclosures. Mortality of white
shrimp was slightly higher than observed in killifish and oysters. The HC concentration in ANSC+9500 and ANSC enclosures ranged from 14 to 24 ppm and 10 to 11 ppm, respectively, at 0 h and declined to near 0 ppm in 3 hours. The rapid decrease was attributed to dilution from vertical mixing and tidal action.

Both laboratory finding and field studies indicate that short-term exposure to nominal concentrations of ANSC or ANSC+9500 of 30 ppm or less are not likely to have an acute toxic effect on these species. "

I've been surprised at how much relevant environmental information on dispersants, crude oil spills, at-risk habitats, etc, is published. The issue is that BP, Nalco, and others have been very reluctant to release important information about chemical compositions, flow rates, useage rates, etc. associated with the Macondo spill.

That information is necessary to understand the ultimate dispersal / disposition / destruction of the oil, dispersants, and cleaning agents.

$500 million for scientific studies sounds impressive, but the funding will be hotly contested, and will be subject to the usual scientific processes of favoritism during selection. Some of the data thrown around over the last few months has been quite suspect, especially as the composition of the spilled oil may have varied over time.

Funding the measurement of toxins not present in the spill may not be a good use of money, but that seems to have happened ( eg heavy metals and some larger hydrocarbons ). If BP had been made to release composition data, measurement could be more focussed.

If valid samples have not been collected, and stored appropriately throughout the spill, most environmental studies will be constrained to reporting after-effects. That should have been a core role of science agencies, but it seems to have been more like " I can measure hydrocarbons - please can I go on a cruise? ". I hope that future regulations will insist that all composition and flow data is immediately released, and tardiness or withholding is severely punished.

As I have said before static evaluation of dispersed oil toxicity falls well short of considering all of the factors in play in the Gulf.

If the effect of dispersant is to accelerate the biodegradation of oil and prevent the oil from ever reaching the upper ocean and surface where 90% of the Gulf biosphere is located, then in fact the dispersant is a benefit to the ecology.

As a self-professed ignoramus, can someone please explain the ramifications, if any, of the "pinching off" of Eddy Franklin? Has this ever happened before? Will it stay there, circling all by itself or re-attach itself back to the loop current thus re-creating a more classically shaped loop current in the future? While this is definitely good news for the Atlantic Ocean and eastern Florida, is the lack of a classical loop current an indication that the Gulf will become more of a dead sea? In other words, there is old Eddy Franklin out there circulating, but since it went right over the top of the WW at one point, chances are it contains some bad stuff in it. Maybe this was nature's way to keep the rest of the oceans safe? If so great, but will the lack of circulation of a large, classic current in the Gulf create more problems with oxygen depletion? Darned, I wish I had had more education? Not understanding all of this is driving me crazy!

In addition, the article was careful to mention that the data is only about surface oil, so I guess, none of the above questions matter anyway?

See map above and here: http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/dwh.php?entry_id=815

Not an oceanographer, but I suspect the pinch-off is just a natural event that will reverse itself in time. If the current is just running in a circle, it has to be losing energy. That should make the loop expand, and it should eventually reconnect. OTOH, I could be spouting nonsense this time. It isn't within my specialty.

Thanks Lotus and Pinkfud. Lotus, that link was very informative and easy to understand. Thanks so much.

You're mos' welcome, p'dancer. He's very good, isn't he?

If you didn't "explore" Jeff Master's blog at Weather Underground, you might enjoy going back there to find his story about flying into the middle of hurricanes, which he once did for a living I think. His final flight as a crew member on a hurricane plane is a real thriller.

None of the rest of us understand all of this either! You have the essential desire, a "fire in the brain." Then come the habits - find reasonably reliable sources, read, read, read, ask questions, slowly replace assumptions with knowledge. After a while, we understand more. With time, maybe even gain some wisdom.

Doc, you will love this. I called a certain city that is having disposal issues and offered to set them up with our waste director and you know what I was told. "It is WM's problem and it is WM's dump. That is what we pay them for." I responded.
1. Well, I take a more inclusive view and actually own the problem of YOUR waste.
2. I can only offer advice and well wishes.
3. By stopping the waste from being taken to YOUR county landfill, WM will just ship it elsewhere. Nice for you to send YOUR problems to others.
4. WM may manage it, but if you live there and your work there, it is YOUR dump not WM's.
5. Reiterated if I could help, please call. The person on the other end was so defensive. I think I know why. Sometimes folks tend to get defensive when they try to justify something they know is wrong. He kept saying,"But we only pay a dollar a ton." I told for $.50 a ton I can have it delivered to city hall.

In time these folks will come around. In Baldwin, we kept insisting on better handling of the waste at the landfill until WM pulled out saying it was unprofitable. Maybe it was unprofitable to WM unless they cheated. When WM stopped managing our landfill ten years ago, our greenness as a county went up by a factor of ten. WM is a devil.


Eddies pinch off all the time. You can't really call them periodic--the "period" varies between 1 and 16 months, so it's really not periodic at all--but they are a regular product of the current. They're perfectly ordinary. Once it splits off, an eddy typically migrates westward over the course of a few months, and breaks up somewhere in the Bay of Campeche north of Mexico. The eddies tend to contain warm water, from the Loop Current itself. In 2003 the Loop Current was in a configuration much like it is now--close to Cuba, having pinched off a big eddy fairly far south. It was named Eddy Titanic, and it was even bigger than Franklin. It did reattach to the Loop for a while, then split off again and headed west.

Oceanographers name those eddies with the same convention as meteorologists use in naming hurricanes, though they don't restart the alphabet every year (since there are far fewer eddies generated per year). There have been eddies named Whopper, Xtra and Zapp. But my favorite is the previous letter F: Fast Eddy.

These eddies, the big, warm ones, rotate clockwise, like the Loop Current. There are smaller, cooler, counterclockwise eddies too. One of those helped weaken Bonnie as the storm passed over it last week. There are deep eddies too, which could affect the spread of the deep plumes, but we can't monitor those by satellite so we don't have as regular a view of them.

Effect on the environment

Nearly a year after Ixtoc, when Jernelöv's study was conducted, the damage to wildlife was dramatic, especially offshore and among species low on the food chain, such as shrimp, corals and zooplankton.

The population of crabs and molluscs near shore nose-dived. Mats of green algae covered coral and rocks, either from repeated drenching in oil or from the loss of the creatures that would normally eat the algae.

Offshore, the oil and dispersant mix wiped out the base of the food chain, particularly the zooplankton that feed on algae. This led to enormous algae blooms that hurt fish and shellfish.

But there was no follow-up research. On the surface, the environment appeared to have bounced back within about five years, according to McKinney. Oil still remains in the environment, however, in the form of tar several inches beneath the sandy seafloor.


Here's a detailed summary of the Jernelov & Linden (1981) study of Ixtoc effects.

The use of oil dispersant has made the tracking of surface oil largely redundant.

The debate will be. Is it best to disperse the oil throughout the ocean or allow it to homogenise on the surface?

At this point in time MHO is that oil dispersant saved the day and this is certainly not America's worst ever environmental moment.

Merriam Webster:

Main Entry: ho·mog·e·nize
Pronunciation: \hō-ˈmä-jə-ˌnīz, hə-\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): ho·mog·e·nized; ho·mog·e·niz·ing
Date: 1886

transitive verb 1 a : to blend (diverse elements) into a uniform mixture b : to make homogeneous
2 a : to reduce to small particles of uniform size and distribute evenly usually in a liquid b : to reduce the particles of so that they are uniformly small and evenly distributed

Do you know how many molecules of Leonardo Da Vinci you take with every breath? Hitler?
"We do indeed breathe in a considerable number of molecules that once passed through Leonardo's lungs and, unfortunately, Adolf Hitler's or anyone else's for that matter."


If I were you I wouldn't worry about breathing molecules that Hitler, or Mussolini, or Stalin, or Ghengis Kahn have touched. I'd worry about the ones Dave Brown touched. I'm not sure I got much value out of them, but I'm pretty sure I wrung 'em dry! And who knows what I infected them with, although I can assure you that at this moment my diseases are all in remission!


PS: Cough, hack, cough, sniffle!

Date issued : 06/14/2005

Date issued : 06/10/2010


Letters from BP/USGS to USGS requesting exemptions allowing the use of Corexit from the end of May through July 19th, the date of the last letter.

Dispersant - letters

Not all of the approved exemptions resulted in the application of the approved amounts of Corexit.

Looks like the US Coast Guard basically stopped providing exemptions after July 11th. The July 19th memo is regarding 375 gal for airel dispersant and requests approval. I do not know how they got that sucker to sign that one, but the rest of them are clearly approvals for exemptions, not approvals for use. There is a subtle, but important legal distinction. The EPA will disavow approval for it's use. And you can bet Lisa Jackson had lawyers reviewing everything she signed.

The first page of the EPA registry that lists Corexit has a very definite disclaimer:

Disclaimer: [Product Name] is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s NCP Product Schedule. This listing does NOT mean that EPA approves, recommends, licenses, certifies, or authorizes the use of [Product Name] on an oil discharge. The listing means only that data have been submitted to EPA as required by subpart J of the National Contingency Plan, Section 300.915. (Source: 40 CFR §300.920 (e)).

I think that if there is any blame laid on the US government for the abusive use of Corexit, Admiral Allen will be expected to fall on his sword. But then, he is retired, isn't he?

Admiral Allen won't need to fall on his sword. My understanding of the decision to approve dispersant injection at the BOP was that we simply don't know enough to quantify the likely damage to the offshore & subsurface environment, but that a decision had to be made one way or the other, and the best professional guess of the folks with the greatest relevant experience was that we were _probably_ better off using large amounts of dispersant than not using it.

If I recall correctly, there's a comment in:
although I may be confusing testimony & documents.

It was and is a crap-shoot, but a decision had to be made. We can hope that we collect enough data from this uncontrolled "experiment" so that next time we'll have more information upon which to base our decision.


Hazardous Substance(s) CAS NO % (w/w)
Distillates, petroleum, hydrotreated light 64742-47-8 10.0 - 30.0
Propylene Glycol 57-55-6 1.0 - 5.0
Organic sulfonic acid salt Proprietary 10.0 - 30.0


Based on our hazard characterization, the potential human hazard is: Moderate


Component substances have a potential to bioconcentrate.


Distillates, petroleum, hydrotreated light 64742-47-8 10.0 - 30.0
Propylene Glycol 57-55-6 1.0 - 5.0
Organic sulfonic acid salt Proprietary 10.0 - 30.0


Based on our hazard characterization, the potential human hazard is: Low


Based on a review of the individual components, utilizing U.S. EPA models, this material is not expected to

These are some notable differences between the two. Just an observation on my part.

" These are some notable differences between the two. Just an observation on my part."

Really?. There probably are, but not in the information you have provided.
I've separately identified the CAS NOs and % composition for easier viewing.

" Corexit 9500
Distillates, petroleum, hydrotreated light [CAS No. 64742-47-8], = 10.0 - 30.0 %
Propylene Glycol [CAS No. 57-55-6], = 1.0 - 5.0 %
Organic sulfonic acid salt Proprietary, = 10.0 - 30.0 % "

and then

"Corexit 9500A
Distillates, petroleum, hydrotreated light [CAS No. 64742-47-8], = 10.0 - 30.0 %
Propylene Glycol [CAS No. 57-55-6], = 1.0 - 5.0 %
Organic sulfonic acid salt Proprietary, = 10.0 - 30.0 % "

There is other information on the WWW that specifies the composition in more detail, but once again does not have the pure components. Corexit is probably a mixture of commercially-available materials that are not single chemical entities. Thus, as I noted above, we need Nalco to provide specific data.

Perhaps reading what you post might prevent further such errors.

By the time I noticed I didn't state that the composition was the same I could no longer edit the post. That was not the difference I was wanting to refer to. That was a mistake on my part, and I apologize.

"We think we've got it stopped, and I'm optimistic about that, but we've got this enormous puddle of oil out there," said George Crozier, executive director of the University of South Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab. "The chairman of my research department has coined this phrase, which isn't very helpful, but it's catchy: 'We don't even know what we don't know'."
Dispersants Part of the Problem for Gulf Wildlife, Not a Solution


While images of oiled sea turtles and pelicans are heartbreaking, scientists are concerned the more nefarious impacts to the Gulf are happening on the microscopic level far underwater, a consequence of the BP pumping three quarters of a million gallons of dispersant a mile below the surface in what amounts to an unprecedented science experiment in the nation's fish basket.

"The question is what's happening at the bottom of the food chain," he said. "Clearly the eggs and larvae of the commercial and recreation species, and the phytoplankton that they depend on, are all the most vulnerable stages of the food chain."

Crozier's lab has a five-year record of sea life in the Gulf, taken from a testing station near Dauphin Island. He's waiting for the results of their most recent surveys of plankton and other species, and he's not expecting good news.

"A lot of our eggs and larvae are in the top 100 meters, so as this cloud of toxins spreads upward, we're making an assumption that its killing all of them," he said. "I absolutely hate the use of dispersants at depth. I think that was the most huge of mistake in the process of containment."


Let's hope for good news. But thanks for the article it was very informative though echoing from an above post, what were the impacts on the microscophic level for the Intox oil spill years ago? Surely comparing them will give us a heads up on what to expect.

we're making an assumption that its killing all of them

I love science. You can make an assumption and just assume it's true because it sounds truthy.
Since you're a scientist, people just assume it's true because, you know, you're a scientist.

Oh, and bonus points for the

but we've got this enormous puddle of oil out there

because that sounds so scientific.

Like most engineers that learned with slide rule, I always push numbers around to get a rough idea of what is happening. Several weeks ago I saw an estimate of the spill at 168 million gallons. That was believed to be a high side number given after earlier lower estimates of flow were derided as too low. If that much oil reached the surface and were spread out over a square mile, it would be almost 10 inches deep. That's a lot of oil. If, over the course of the spill it spread out over an area of 50 by 100 miles, it would be a film of about .002 inches deep. That sounds better but that is a much more than a sheen. It is about the thickness of the film around a crankshaft bearing in your car and still is enough oil to be plenty “oily” and a big problem.

But if the oil is dispersed in a water column about a mile deep (as most of it was), that 10 inches of oil over one square mile works out to 152 parts per million in a cubic mile. Depending upon the organism, that may or may not be toxic. It probably is for anything that can't swim out of it in a few hours. A good paper is the Liu thesis “Toxicity of South Louisiana Crude Oil...” But the water is moving. I've seen estimates of 1 to 3 knots. At one knot, if the plume contaminated a “strip” 220 feet wide, that would amount to one cubic mile per day of contaminated water. After 84 days, the contamination level in those 87 cubic miles would be 1.8 ppm, a level that many believe to be below long term toxicity levels.

And the situation is better if the spill really was not that big, if some oil reached the surface and evaporated, if the bugs are eating the oil, if the current is stronger, if the water continues to mix, etc. All of these are likely events. I am not trying to make a case that this spill was not and is not a big issue (although I think long term it may hurt our country and our economy worse than it will hurt the Gulf). But I am not surprised that we are hearing reports on the difficulty of finding the oil.


Parent Group: BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill>Satellite, Radar, and Aerial Images of the Spill>Radar Images [Potential Oiling Footprint - NOAA/NESDIS]
Layer Name: NESDIS Anomaly Analysis 31 July 2010 Composite
Date Added to GeoPlatform: 7/31/2010 11:01 pm

Additional Information: The outline of oil is based on an experimental pilot product and should be used with caution. Date of Composite: July 31, 2010 Location: Gulf of Mexico Confidence: Medium VALID ON: 7/31/2010 TIMES: 1143 - (8/1) 0044 UTC DATA SOURCES: RADARSAT 1&2, COSMO SKYMED3

Analysis Summary: Almost full radar coverage shows numerous oil slicks to the west of the spill-site extending to near 92W, with other slicks to the northeast of the spill-site as well. A few slicks can also be seen in and around Barataria Bay, LA, Terrebonne Bay, LA, and areas to the south. - Uncertainties: Stronger winds (<15 kts.) over and near the spill-site this morning may have inhibited oil detection in certain regions. In addition, because light winds (>5 kts.) took place this evening, darker blotches appeared in some imagery especially near the LA delta. Therefore, detecting oil in these darker blotches made it difficult. Analyst: EVANS

All the best ecologists learned with slide rules, too, as we deal with processes at orders of magnitude different scales and rates! [Plus, the SL&T scales helped me understand the relationships among transcendental functions in college.]

However, I read your rough estimates read as the equivalent of me taking the proven reserves of oil, multiplying by 10, then spreading it out evenly over the surface of the earth and to a depth of 1 mile, and thus estimating that no remaining oil is economically recoverable, because the other factors will only make the oil more expensive to produce.

The difficulty in finding the subsurface hydrocarbons is real, but it's not because it is at a uniformly low concentration. Think of oil exploration without geologic maps or seismic surveys or geostatistics to interpolate between point estimates, just blindly drilling exploratory wells to see what's there. Only the plumes drift, so what the SONAR found yesterday may be at a different location when the water sampler comes along tomorrow. Suggestions to use statistical spatial sampling approaches were ignored & rebuffed.

The use of dispersants at the BOP produced droplets that didn't rise to the surface, so the oil didn't all get to the surface. But they're droplets, not dissolved hydrocarbons, and they act like droplets, not dissolved chemicals. The subsurface oil is not uniformly dispersed in a cubic mile: it is concentrated in a few depth bands. See my comment elsewhere in this post.

1.8ppm toxicology of dissolved oil to nearshore (shallow) species isn't necessarily the relevant number: droplets and surfactants affecting filter feeding at very different Reynolds Numbers are more likely an issue than absorption of toxins dissolved in the water.

Right now we don't know enough to estimate the damage within 2 or 3 orders of magnitude, spanning no noticeable effect to collapse of some offshore stocks that won't recover.

I'm a bit of skeptic on what the government tells you is safe. Tell that to the American Serviceman exposed to radiation during WWII,"the atomic veterans". Tell that to the Hanford "Downwinders". "Contractors working for the federal government at Hanford repeatedly informed the public that Hanford was safe. When the public asked if Hanford was safe, they were told that "not one atom" had ever escaped from Hanford and that Hanford was as "safe as mother's milk." http://www.djc.com/special/enviro98/10043971.htm

From Allen's 3:30 EDT press briefing:

- RW - final casing run(s) happening now, to be followed by a check that all the casing is clean before cementing begins later this evening.

- Static kill is more appropriately called static test, since it may only result in providing more info' about the well status. Pumping will stop if pressure at the cap reaches 8,000psi (which is not expected to happen.)

- The scientific team has been meeting in Houston the last couple of days, making sure everybody understands exactly how the test/kill is to proceed. Allen will soon be going to Houston himself - he's in DC today. [Wonder if he and Wells will do a joint appearance.]

- Q4000 and other vessels are in place for the static operation, currently doing some final testing of equipment

- Static kill may begin Monday night, more likely sometime Tuesday. Allen will write a letter this evening giving the final formal permission for it to happen.

It was a very short formal briefing. Most of the time was spent on followup Q's, many of which were from multiple CNN folks, asking about dispersants, EPA, BP etc. Surprisingly, no questions from LA reporters about the blockade of the 12 semi's full of booms on order of a parish president.

Audio here.

Somebody earlier raised a question I've been wondering about too: okay, microbes eat oil, but what eats microbes? I've started some light poking-around to find the answer but haven't hit it yet (weak Google-fu), though I did run across a good article on the champeen-oil-eater microbe, Alcanivorax borkumensis. The long version is at


and the highlights for us non-scientist types are as follows (footnotes and some specialist lingo deleted):

Alcanivorax, first described in 1998, is a[n] ... oil-degrading marine bacterium that is found in low abundances in unpolluted environments in the upper layers of the ocean, but quickly becomes the predominant microbe in oil-contaminated open oceans and coastal waters when nitrogen and phosphorus are not limiting. When conditions in these ... environments are right, Alcanivorax may make up 80-90% of the oil-degrading microbes present in the area. ...

As a result of their profound ability to degrade and live predominately on alkanes, as well as to become the dominant microbes in oil-contaminated areas, Alcanivorax plays a huge role in the biological cleanup of oil-contaminated environments. These oil-contaminated environments in the ocean are largely due to anthropogenic sources such as oil spills caused by tankers accidents ..., and cause serious ecological damage to plants and animals on the coast as well as other inhabitants of the ocean. Microbes such as Alcanivorax provide a major route for the breakdown of these pollutants, and demonstrate how marine bacteria keep the environment in check. Of all the Alcanivorax species and other oil-degrading microbes, Alcanivorax borkumensis is one of the most important worldwide due to the fact it produces a wide variety of very efficient oil-degrading enzymes. With this knowledge, A. borkumensis could provide a useful tool for bioremediation of oil spills. ...

When the slow growing A. borkumensis uses n-alkanes exclusively, the microbes produce extracellular and membrane-bound surface-active glucose lipids called biosurfactants. These biosurfactants reduce the surface tension of water ... and act as natural emulsifiers which enhances the break up of oil-in-water emulsions. Due to the low solubility of oil in water, most oil degradation takes place at the oil-water interface where A. borkumensis attaches and forms a biofilm around the oil droplets[.] ...

Alcanivorix is a novel species living in the oceans that plays a major role in keeping our pristine oceans as well as the inhabitants of the ocean and the inhabitants of the coastal regions in good health. It has been detected worldwide in places such as the Mediterranean Sea, Pacific Ocean, and the Arctic Sea. In seawater with high concentrations of n-alkanes (as a result of oil spills, natural oil fields, and/or processing plants), Alcanivorax quickly becomes the predominant microbial community and is found in higher populations when compared to Alcanivorax in unpolluted seawater. There have been several recent fields studies on bacterial community dynamics and hydrocarbon degradation in coastal areas contaminated with oil. These field studies have demonstrated the immense importance of Alcanivorax (particularly A. Borkumensis) in oil-spill bioremediation[.]

Thanks and apologies to Andrew Buss for this chop-job on your very helpful article.

Will Bacterial Plague Follow Crude Oil Spill Along Gulf Coast?

"The unfortunate thing is Alcanivorax can only handle a small part of the problem," Timmis said. The bacteria target saturated hydrocarbons, simple chemical chains that constitute the major volume of the Gulf oil but are also the most likely to evaporate. It is small, he said, "but it's an important part of it."

Indeed, the word "oil" can mask the sheer complexity of crude, Colwell said. Recent studies have found more than 17,000 different chemical components in crude, spawning a term that mirrors the complexity of biology: petroleomics. Some bacteria, like the Alcanivorax, will degrade the simple components, while others, like some Vibrios, hanker for aromatic hydrocarbons like benzene, which are more stable and toxic.


Welp, yesterday I discovered Alcanivorax borkumensis -- which, unless you're a microbiologist, doesn't look like much.

But as I found out, let ol' A. borkumensis latch onto and form a biofilm around oil droplets, and it'll eat itself silly (excreting carbon dioxide and water as by-products) and reproduce like mad until the hydrocarbons are gone and it's put itself out of business, to be eaten in turn by protozoa (h/t tiny). Apparently its only drawback -- a considerable one -- is that oxygen-depleting greenhouse gas, CO2.

Now, back in May and June various biotech entrepreneurs were waxing even more rah-rah than SaveFlipper to the Feds and Gulf-state governors about projects to grow superefficient oil-eating bacteria in the lab to sic on the Macondo oil. For instance, I read about this one guy in Gainesville who tore off to New Orleans, talked his way onto a research cruise, gathered a dozen liters of oily seawater, and hauled them back to his company’s bioreactor, "a 4-meter-long translucent tube with a laser that shoots beams through the liquid." His plan was to rev up the evolution of the 18 species of microbes in his sample, six months or so later take the results back to the spill, seed 'em into the Gulf via aerial spraying, and thereby make his name heroic and his fortune notable.

Meh. Lotsa folks tried the same thing on Prince William Sound, and it didn't work fer diddly.

”The bacteria are already out there,” says Kenneth Lee, a researcher who founded the Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. ”If it wasn’t for bacteria, we’d be knee-deep in oil.” That is, adding foreign microorganisms did not accelerate the naturally occurring process by which native populations of bacteria degrade oil in water.

The problem, Lee and Atlas say, is that besides oil, the bacteria need other nutrients in greater abundance for their populations to grow. ”What is useful is the addition of a fertilizer -- nitrogen or phosphorus,” Atlas says. And not just anywhere: Adding fertilizers, if it works at all, would work best in coastal areas rather than in the open ocean, where Deepwater Horizon is gushing and the nutrients can easily disperse. For fertilization to work in open waters, engineers would likely need to come up with a way to force the nutrients to bind to the oil, he says.

But even if adding fertilizers boost[s] bacterial growth in coastal waters, it has a dark side, says Cornell’s Howarth. ”About two-thirds of coastal water and bays [in the United States] are severely degraded by nitrogen and phosphorus pollution,” he says. Leaving the environment’s native bacteria to do their own cleanup might be just as good, he adds.

That article is datelined June 11, and as we see, Prof. Howarth's prophecy may prove understated. Too bad for the Gainesville guy and his competitors, but really, I think the Gulf's had about enough interference from humans for one summer. Don't you?

Good morning to you, to A. borkumensis, and to good Maw Nature.

Do you hear the silence?

China announced a very different approach to oil spill cleanup back on July 20th. They are apparently using microbes to clean up their mess. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100720/sc_afp/chinaenvironmentoilpollution

So, has anyone heard anything about this? You would think it would be of interest.

Thanks for the link...though it doesn't really seem that interesting. Since most people probably figured that they used microbes to clean this up.

So, why haven't we been using them? To here some of the opinions expressed here, you would think that there is no basis to believe they would be of benefit and they are dangerous. China is dumping 24 tonns of the stuff in the ocean over there. It there some reason to believe our oceans do not mix with theirs?

Hello! Let's get busy remediating the Gulf. It will not get done with dispersant. It seems like BP is not practicing due diligence in mitigating the damage. Maybe they don't have enough board members with interests in the microbe business.

So you've concluded that it is safe to introduce a non-native organism into that environment?

Is that based on the fact that China is using it, or do you have other sources of information?

Apparently there are some who believe that bio-remediation has been progressing from before this blowout, via the already native bacteria in the Gulf, and apparently there is a belief in some quarters that it has already been very effective.

Maybe you should ask the native bacteria believers what source that is based on.

I have not concluded anything about the Chinese decision. I just pointed out that it had been made and wondered why there was no follow up news on it. 24 Tonns. If it was so dangerous you would think that there would be a world outcry.

There are microbe products on the same EPA registry that lists Corexit. This is a link to the National Contingency Plan for treating oil spills: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/docs/oil/ncp/schedule.pdf

Here is one of them. Complete with case studies: http://www.obio.com/allprojects.htm

Certainly they are safer than the spraying of Corexit into the air.

I get it.
But I can't answer for anyone. Not BP nor China. I'm trying to refrain from apathy but it seems you can't do much about it, they do what they do and even if we holler and scream, they'll continue doing it.
How do you manage?

It is not about what "they" do. It is about speaking up about what you know and for what you believe is right. The things I have done and been have brought me here knowing what I do.

The serenity prayer helps, too.

When you get tired, take a break. Never give up.

A break sounds good. Something to raise my spirits before I tackle this problem again. But the thing is I want things done right but I'm starting to look naive and foolish, the impact of this disaster will be great but it doesn't help that we haven't seen the worst of it. At least in the food chain.

You think it doesn't already have a nice healthy population of oil-eating microbes out there stuffing themselves and multiplying as fast as they can?

What's that even suppose to mean?
Are you saying that China has their own microbe population, eating their waste? I thought that was bad because apparently these cause oxygen depletion. Which is what's bugging me because nothing seems to be going right anymore. You go either direction and your have a slew of problems. I'm just trying to find opportunity in them but it's becoming harder.

I'm curious about what you're looking for. Is it a sense of feeling safe? Is it confidence that it's going to be all right eventually? Is it that people who know what they're doing are in charge? Is it that there is a way out of this?

How would you recognize it if you saw it? What if the sign you're looking for comes by while you're asleep, or just blinking, or turned the wrong way?

If you count all the possible ways things could go wrong, you won't find enough paper in the world to write it down on.

My mother was a worrier. Whenever I was headed home on Christmas Eve she would worry about me, and because I knew she was worried I took a lot of chances which risked her worries coming to fruition. For all of the worrying she did, she never once anticipated a problem. When I had my 4 separate heart attacks, finally giving her something to worry about, she not only was clueless about them being about to occur, but there was never enough damage to warrant any worry.

As has already been suggested, try the serenity prayer, or, in my case, the senility prayer.

This is really not that difficult. Get the data that is needed and make good decisions. They have had adequate time to get information on the microbial situation. The fact that the information is not being made public makes me nervous.

The technical solutions are not even that difficult. Bioremediation requires nutrients, microbes and oxygen. Some microbes are even anaerobic. Ships could be rigged with equipment to pump up the deep water and aerate or otherwise supplement with nutrients or additional microbes. It is ridiculous to think we are actually incapable of doing something about the mess.

What am I looking for? I am looking for BP to practice due diligence and CLEAN UP THE MESS!

I actually prefer data. However, I have been unable to find any. You would have thought that they had been testing for those things. They talk about oxygen levels and hydrocarbon contractions but I could find no information being released on the microbes. Plankton concentrations? Bacteria species and concentration? Are the lower oxygen concentrations due to the death of the plankton or the proliferation of oil eating bacteria? Or both?

And maybe they have come up to effective levels now, but how long did that take? We may well have missed the window of opportunity early on in preventing some of the oil from reaching the shore.

The point I am trying to make is that we need to use some ingenuity here, and all the resources we have at hand. At this point, they have the problem with the water below the surface. How about some rigs out there doing some bioremediation? Nutrients, oxygen and bugs. It is not so much if they use Gulf bugs or Chinese bugs, just that they do everything possible to mitigate the damages here.


I agree with that last part.
But am still undecided in regards to the first, because I can't think of a single way we can do anything about it at the moment. Since apparently all these scientist are reporting low oxygen concentration but they give no answers or things for us to work with.
Do you think the worst is over?

We will see.

The vagueness doesn't help. But we'll see. Hopefully the worst is over. We have the cap in place and are read for static kill, and with the well killed. We can focus on the clean up. But no more corexit. We should do this in a safe way. BP shouldn't act bold when it needs to be conserative but they should also stop being conserative when they should be bold.

Here is an oil leak on the old BOP, you can see the oil and hydrate buildup. They zero in on it at the 36 sec and 2:45 mark.


NOAA’s Oil Spill Response
Fish Stocks in the
Gulf of Mexico


I have figured out a way to make 1,000,000 USD. I will get BP to pay me to drink a double shot of Corexit on national TV. What do you think? Who is in for how much? Where can I buy some Corexit?

That's silly if they die than who would manage this operation? :P

Sure you could drink it, but how long would you live afterward and what would the health effects be? Some people, especially those exposed to it, would care.

I though you'd sense the sarcasm in that statement what did you think the ":P" meant?

I will get BP to pay me to drink a double shot of Corexit on national TV.

I think Suttles is your Huckleberry. BP's chief operating officer says he would eat fish from the Gulf of Mexico and would let his family eat it, too.

Easy, the ingredients are mostly known. For 1M$ I would cheerfully drink a double shot. It isn't that big a deal.
The only trick would be to keep it down, you don't want to vomit since it is mostly what is basically kerosene. If you inhale that as liquid it can be quite dangerous. Otherwise it would be not much of a deal.

You could get into training with Windex.

I would like to suggest that the cool, logical minds here take a look at this little video snippet of a meeting between a BP rep and locals near ground (ocean) zero. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sbatm6qe44 I would appreciate your comments...

They said it all. I can't add to that.

I know exactly what he means about them sinking the oil. I was in the VOO program for 42 days. I saw the familiar "bubbles" on quite a few occasions and no they were not tide streaks or propwash from boats. On one day in particular, we had oil in 4 different locations in Alabama. EVERY VOO boat in Alabama, Mississippi,Louisiana and Florida were all called to the dock due to "weather". It was clear blue skies from Appalachicola to Venice. The next day there was no oil to be found, only the telltale bubbles from the dispersant they sprayed. This was long before Bonnie came through. The man in that youtube video said it all. They think we're stupid. I was glad to see Rikki Ott sitting in the front row of that meeting soaking it all in and taking notes. She has been through this before, knows what's coming and hopefully how to prevent it from being as bad as Exxon Valdez was.

There is a media black-out on this around the country. Friends in other states have told me it's as though they live in a different country than I do, that's how removed they are from the story. Those poor people at ground zero have been through so much. That last 15 seconds of that video brought tears to my eyes because it was so fraught with the frustration and anguish these people are feeling. They are living it, and it's real. It's not a joke. Someone, Lotus I think, left an article on a thread that's been closed about the story in the Times Picayune about Delacroix. Quoting memories from an old-timer we read,
"Reaching into a deep well of memories, he paints an idyllic picture: A community of several hundred fishers, farmers and trappers whose homes were surrounded by a wetlands paradise of high ridges, marshes and swamps. The outside world -- unwanted, unneeded -- seemed a thousand miles away.- once considered a kind of paradise for the fisherman that worked there." http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/08/gulf_of_mexico...

I could not help but think of the depressing parallels between Delacroix and the doomed town of Macondo. The following is from a story I found on a blog about the fictional story of Macondo:
"So the story of Marquez’ Macondo is not just about a fictional cursed town as the media has been reporting regarding the odd namesake chosen by BP for its hellhole well in the Gulf. This is a story about a novel forecasting the future reality of corrupt governments in league with international business interests violently oppressing human rights of their own exploited citizens and then covering up the evil."

I could not agree more. More here:

I pray that if there is a God, and I believe that there is, that justice will be served.

Then how can you be other than at peace?

I am at peace for myself. But I can't stand to see any creature suffer, fish, humans, crabs, whatever,- especially the ones that are innocent victims. And sometimes innocent people suffer, good people suffer, and it hurts to watch it. Even with faith, it just hurts like hell to watch it.

I'm no fan of suffering either, but I would not exchange any of the suffering that I have experienced for pleasure, because it has taught me so much about myself and this existence. I believe that I have always emerged from it a better person than I could have been without it. I don't seek it out (although I know that there are those who see it as a cleansing process, but they have a significantly different view of their nature from mine), but I accept it as part of the growth process.

As for those occasions when we don't survive, we may not have the opportunity to learn from it, but, whatever your view of what lies beyond death, is there not a sense of peace about that?

I would not deny others, human or other than human, the opportunity to experience the things that I have experienced, nor the peace that will come to all of us, we know not when.

Suffering can control us, but only if we let it, and I would expect that when we can't let it go, it may be out of our own sense of not being in control. Isn't it ironic that we might yield up control to some external reality because we don't feel in control?

On the other hand, if we don't need control, then we can be at true peace, because we don't surrender control to anything else, including suffering.

Dave is the closest I ever get to church. Thanks, Dave.

TOD should give you a post each Sunday.

You were a protestant minister, correct? What sort of psychologist are you?

As for those occasions when we don't survive...

Oh man, that's pure gold. Thanks again, Dave.

I once wandered into a Graduate School of Education class to pick up a few easy credits. A 22 year old informed the class that "dying is beautiful because it's our last chance to learn" and the famed prof enthusiastically agreed.

Was the 22 yo hot?

Yes. And bright eyed, but not bright. She showed great enthusiasm.

"I'm no fan of suffering either, but I would not exchange any of the suffering that I have experienced for pleasure, because it has taught me so much about myself and this existence. I believe that I have always emerged from it a better person than I could have been without it. I don't seek it out (although I know that there are those who see it as a cleansing process, but they have a significantly different view of their nature from mine), but I accept it as part of the growth process."

Young Grasshopper, truer words were never spoken! I DO know that and yet I always seem to forget. Thanks for a beautiful reminder.

Incidentally, I missed these responses last night, because I went to watch Planet Earth. That series is so beautifully done, and it certainly shows how insignificant most things are,(even this oil disaster) when taken within the context of the whole.

Thanks again to all who replied, and especially to David for his wisdom.

TFHG- ROFLOL! Though it's not funny to run over a homeless person, your witty description of the event certainly added comic relief to some of the more sobering aspects of this site. Glad you're both OK.

It's unfortunate and ironic that the gentleman was wearing a shirt similar to BP color

Those poor people at ground zero have been through so much. That last 15 seconds of that video brought tears to my eyes because it was so fraught with the frustration and anguish these people are feeling.

I feel you, paintdancer.

But I wouldn't call Dean Blanchard "poor" (Dean is the green-shirted guy in the last 15 seconds of the video).

He owns a multi-million dollar shrimp processing business. In this video (2:30-3:30 & 6:50-7:10), he talks about the $165,000 he's received from BP so far, and the $750,000 he's eagerly awaiting. He also says business will be back to normal in a year or two.

I feel more for this guy. His livelihood was destroyed by Bobby Jindal, and Bobby Jindal ain't paying nobody nothing.

PS: Dean Blanchard is EVERYWHERE.


Hes's still a "small people" compared to BP and he says the truth.....and for sure are "small people" the fishermen who worked for him and they don't know what to do... and all the people of the gulf are "small people" with lives ruined, can you imagine?..I argue if you'd be one of them you'd agree with'em..

You're right, and I do agree with them.

Blanchard knows that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I don't fault him for being canny. He's a genuine american character.

I told you weird stuff happens to me. I just ran over a human being while riding my bicycle. Seems a homeless person went to sleep in the shadows on the trail. Near the bottom of a hill. I must have been doing 20. Went airborne and thought I killed him. He got up and I was going to call 911 but he insisted he was fine. I guess maybe he did not need an interface with the local authorities and I saw no visible damage. I gave him a $20 and my phone number. Scared the devil out of me. Bent a handlebar on my bike. I am still sort of freaked out, but I really think he was not hurt bad. Good gosh, I need to hold a basic homeless safety class down here. I really could not see him WITH lights going. He just chose the worst spot possible. He did move. My gosh.

Has to be scary, even in retrospect, or perhaps especially in retrospect.

Glad you both seem to be all right.

I am making a note right now to not lie down across bicycle paths, especially at night, and especially in your neighborhood. Not for my sake, but for yours.


Actually it makes sense. The cops hassle them on the beach. I imagine we need to open a homeless shelter. I may look into it, something tells me we might need one now.

Edit: I may need to go there myself if things do not pick up around here.

If you open one up,send me some cards and I'll hand em' out up here.Seems Louisville has a good reputation as a good place to go.
I'm sure they won't even know about the oil spill and it's possible effects on the seafood.

I'm not sure if I should interpret that in a good way or bad. Good in the sense that the effects won't be noticable in time or bad in the sense that we literally can't fathom the effects of this spill. But we must look back at the Intox, it's effects are possibly felt today but an above article showed that the sea fauna sprung back to shape after several years, so perhaps we might have similar luck.
But let us watch out for the microbes and see what happens from there. Though I wonder why the corexit debate seems so divided, is it toxic or not?

When did the EPA start working on determining the toxicity of Dioxin? In the '70's? Maybe I should just drink some for my fellow citizens and get it over with. Really though, from a practical standpoint, it does not matter. The Corexit is already out there and we cannot do anything about it now. Study is the best option so maybe we will know for the next time. There will be a next time.

Of course nothing can be done but studying. Though I was under the impression that the Intox spill used corexit as oppose to Dioxin, but it matters not. We just have to learn our lesson for next time. Hopefully when that comes, things go a lot more smoothly than this mess.

Dioxin is not a dispersant. Dioxins are a by product of many industrial precesses, namely the burning of PVC and making paper. The burning of PVC in incinerators has been greatly reduced as a result of the dioxin threat. If you knew that and was just being sarcastic, good one.

Nevermind a simple mistake.
But what's done is done, right? Just wait and see and hope for the best.

1. The homeless could care less what goes on in the world

2. The MSM at the start had the whole Gulf being dead before this was over.

3. Stay out of the swamps for a couple of years so those microbes die off.Remember those movies.

Nah, we make our homeless work here. That is by far the best way to keep the population down, yet be able to really help the folks that need it. They make you cut grass at the churches and clean them. Then they pay you and give you a free bed and food. They never try to make you work more than two hours a day unless you want to. If you are unable to work you can get an exemption. Very few apply. The only reason I am not doing it right now is because I still have a few ideas. We shall see. I am working on a cross country bike trip for charity and some money for me too. 2000 mile bike trip on a cruiser. Lance would have to think about it.

2000 miles is quite a bit for me, I'll try something more managable like 500 miles. But if we compare the populations with the US and Europe, we can see that the birth rates are going down though the case with Europe has many factors going into it, such as them promoting the use of condom, having less land to manage, and ect. But one interesting tibit of information I found was that the birth rate per woman is about 1.32 (or something...) and I can see that number going a bit lower as the years go on.

But I'm not really sure why I decided to share that, I guess I interpreted your statement about population management the wrong way.

But best of luck to you.

Yes, that was strictly referring to the local homeless population. It has to be managed or you end up with big problems in town. Still, you try to design in as much compassion and dignity into the system as possible. I have seen it posted here several times that if the US did not have immigration, we would be depopulating. Does anyone have a link to that info?

You can always google it, but some math will do. Just find the local birth rates and compare it with other needed information and you'll have your data.


Glad you and the homeless person came through ok.

Back in the early 1990s, there was a flurry of articles on "prone pedestrian" syndrome in the South. In May-June and Sept-Oct, folks wearing little because of the daytime heat when they went to the bar would get chilled when they walked home later and lie down on the still-warm asphalt. Not associated with homelessness then, but not as likely in August when it stays warm at night.

It still happens. It's called passing out drunk!!!!

Might be one for Darwin.


Huh. Usually, one becomes tired before they go to sleep. In this case the guy went to sleep and then got "tired".

He had no shirt on. I did leave a nice tire track on his chest because I made him let me check him out. No ribs appeared broken. Honestly, that guy was though, lucky, or both. I do hope he gets better and I will try to find him tomorrow night. There is a story there.

TFHG~we must be related after reading some of your stories. When I was in middle school I lived in a tiny town in Texas called Hilltop Lakes, it was supposed to be a retirement community but many younger folks moved in to raise their kids. It had golf cart trails thru the woods and one evening I was following a friend on her golf cart with my scooter and we BOTH ran over a drunk...I thought he was dead too, and it scared th bejeezes out of both of, pitch black dark in the woods with a man we just ran over. He was actually fine and never even remembered it except the broken arm and my claim is she did it with the golf cart.

I'm calling the police on both of you to clean up some cold case files.Anymore miscreants out there that want to throw yourself at the mercy of the court? For a small fee I might get you off with a light sentence or none at all.

LOL~I was no older than 13 or 14 ....I think I'm safe since the statutes of limitations has passed, but I could try and buy you off with some BBIC?

Ouuuu. You're a seductive lady beachmommy.

Oh I try :).....actually a TOD poster called it "simpering" when he thought I was a BP shill. I had to look up wtf wimpering meant.

People do not realize it is a little road. You know how many times a car sees me and purposely will block the path so I do not slow them down. I go on in front anyways, screw 'em. If the Iraqi Army couldn't get me. Besides, if I had to stop at every crossing I had the right of way on, I would just end up riding on the street and stopping all the traffic in town. Been hit twice, both in crosswalks. Settled for $10 K each time. Paid for a bike and a doctor visit. My own car insurance covered me one time. Go figure, if you get hit by a car, even on foot, YOUR auto insurance covers you. Of course, I am not a professional victim and would have gladly avoided the whole thing. Learn and obey the law if you drive a car I say.
I still feel safer in an accident on a bike than a car. Even with a car. What I lack in protection and mass I make up for in maneuverability and less mass to decelerate. Both times when I got hit I was able to glance off. It seems the natural reactions tend to work ok in those situations, unlike a car.

Sounds like you're a regular Evil Kneivel.I'm gonna keep an eye on you boy.
( Smirk ) B.P.P.

There is a story there.

Now you're blogwhoring with gas, TFHG.

I will definitely check that story out when you post it.

I just wanted everyone to see a post I made on another thread. It really is shocking. It makes you not want to do anything for us. Hell, it makes we want to move.

Top ten blog items on al.com:

118 comments Georgia athlete C.J. Uzomah commits to Auburn
101 comments Sports Sound Off: Nick Saban doesn't compare to Bear Bryant
101 comments Alabama Supreme Court sides with Gov. Bob Riley on bingo
83 comments More preseason love for Auburn
74 comments Local doctors begin charging fees, cutting patients for "concierge" medical care, some severing ties with Medicare
63 comments VictoryLand loses in court but customer wins nearly $1 million jackpot
54 comments UPDATE: Hoover apartment deck collapses, injuring four; same complex where similar incident killed one on July 4
53 comments Fishermen arrested in Bayou La Batre after blockade protesting little oil cleanup work
48 comments Spanish Fort's Reese Dismukes leads inaugural I-10 team (with highlight video links and photo gallery)
45 comments More preseason love for Alabama

Notice anything missing? OK, the fisherman getting arrested, but that is it. http://www.al.com/

Its not like they don't care anymore but the storyhas been continuing on a long time and people need a break. We need a break. Though if you want to see an impressive number of comments go to yahoo and check on the oil spill story. Since this whole thing started the thread has garnered over 100,000 comments. But most of it is just nonsense.

Fair enough but Alabama football often gets 50% during the season. I love the Tide too, but Saban ain't hiring or monitoring health around here.

You can simply say that apathy finally prevailed. After several months of following the story they probably just stopped caring. Some probably out of hopelessness others probably though that with cap on and the kill operation certain that the story didn't warrant their attention.
I mean what more could you want or expect? Most probably don't even live near the gulf so add that to the list of why they feel indifferent.

I can now say that after three months of reading article after article and lurking the oil drum that my energy is used up.

No story about the aftermath of Chelsea's wedding, for one. And Darrelle Revis no-showed at Jets training camp. Don't y'all get any national news?

How many more oil spills will it take before we finally stop feeding our addiction to big oil companies? We have the technology to scale alternative sources of energy: wind and solar power advancements, geo-thermal and tidal energy. The Earth has been used and abused. It's time to start taking great care of the only planet we have.

Let me know when you've invented a windmill that powers tractors.

If you have animals, the windmill could be used to pump and condense methane into a bottle tank.

Tank10 on August 2, 2010 - 2:03am: How many more oil spills will it take before we finally stop feeding our addiction to big oil companies? We have the technology to scale alternative sources of energy: wind and solar power advancements, geo-thermal and tidal energy. The Earth has been used and abused. It's time to start taking great care of the only planet we have.

I don't think people are "addicted" to oil companies as much as they have become attached to personal mobility. Most people would be fine with electric vehicles, if they had comparable price, safety, speed, range and most of all the infrastructure (quick charge stations) to support them. Most of that is already here, in theory, but so far our governments have not provided the level of incentive needed to push the transition into high-gear.

The single largest consumer of petroleum products is the Dept. of Defense. Without oil the US military is basically demobilized and rendered useless. Given this and current spending priorities along with a soaring international debt and trade imbalances government is unable to shift the gears, so to speak, at this time.

To be fair, DoD is not oblivious to this sad state of affairs, i.e. dependence on oil, and is the largest user of renewable energy of any government agency. Here's something you might find interesting and even encouraging:

bookmark image

The U.S. militarys battle to wean itself off oil

by Amanda Little 13 Oct 2009 9:28 PM
Don\'t ask what kind of mileage it gets.
In the summer of 2006, Marine Corps Major General Richard Zilmer sent the Pentagon an unusual "Priority 1" request for emergency battlefield supplies. Stationed at a temporary base in Fallujah, Zilmer was commanding a force of 30,000 troops responsible for protecting Al Anbar, the vast territory in western Iraq bordering Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria. Heavily armed insurgents were hammering the region,

path: Public ~> Gulf Oil Disaster
originally posted: 2010-07-09 02:31:34

Slick update, http://gomex.erma.noaa.gov/erma.html#x=-90.42000&y=28.03000&z=8&layers=5...

Analyst: Warren Remarks: Several small slicks were observed in the visible satellite image south of LA. These slicks were on the edge of the sunlight. A few clouds obscured the ability to detect oil near the Bird Foot Delta and some natural slicks were seen south of the oil suspected to be from Deepwater Horizon spill.

Re. Kent Well's video presentation 7-21-10, I have a question about pumping concrete during either the static kill or the bottom kill. What happens if the concrete pump assembly on the Q400 fails? Are there other pumps, motors and generators ready to be swapped in and how long does the swap take? If 45-60 minutes expire and the concrete starts setting with the operation half done, what then?

Haven´t had time this morning to read all the comments BUT I am wondering what has happened to the ROV "live-feeds??" There are no images. I normally go check a couple of times each day. I love "The Oil Drum" - have been "hooked" since the oil spill occurred in April. Many, many thanks for all the hard work.

Earlier on Skandi 1 was cleaning up the top of the collet connector with what I assume was dispersant, there was quite a build up that had to be blasted away. The leaks in that area seem to be increasing as the pressure comes up.


Gulf Fishermen Wrinkle Noses At ‘smell Tests’


Louisiana wildlife regulators on Friday reopened state-controlled waters east of the Mississippi to harvesting of shrimp and "fin fish" such as redfish, mullet and trout. Smell tests on dozens of specimens from the area revealed barely traceable amounts of toxins, the federal Food and Drug Administration said.

The tests were done not by chemical analysis, but by scientists trained to detect the smell of oil and dispersant.

Chemical tests on fish for oil-related compounds are routine, but no such test exists for detecting levels of dispersant, said Meghan Scott, FDA spokeswoman. Federal scientists are developing one, she said. It wasn't clear when one would be ready, though.



Criteria for Sensory Testing

A minimum of 6 sub-samples per species (3 sub-samples for oysters) from each sample location in the area under consideration for re-opening must be tested. A sub-sample will consist of an individual organism for legal size finfish and multiple organisms for shrimp and shellfish, depending on the intact animal type (e.g. 3 to 6 blue crabs, 6 oysters, 0.4 – 0.5 lb shrimp). The samples will be evaluated by a panel of a minimum of 10 expert assessors in the raw and cooked state. Samples will be evaluated first for raw odor, then cooked odor, then cooked flavor in that order. If at any time the analyst finds detectable petroleum or dispersant, the analyst will not further evaluate the sample.



Gulf seafood must pass the smell test

Wilson said the sniffers are accurate about 80 percent of the time.


I live in southern NE. I went to the beach yesterday and did my weekly seven mile beach walk and swim. When I got back to my friends house, who I was visiting, I had black tar on my foot, the first time I have ever seen that here in my entire life, and let me tell you, I qualify for membership in AARP. My friend said she hadn't seen tar on feet on this beach since the 1950's.

So the question is, could it possibly have been BP oil?

Riden -- Nope. For any of the spill to reach you will take a good bit longer time if ever. Just a guess but might be some commercial vessel dumped it's bilge just offshore. That has been a big cause of such nasties showing up on Gulf Coast beaches for many decades.