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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill





Jinx
This disaster hits close to home for me - quite literally, home for me is the Alabama Gulf Coast, even if I'm not living there at this point in my life. So, between crying fits as I imagine my beloved beaches and marshes covered in gloppy black toxic ooze, I've been doing a lot of reading and research about what's going on with this spill, and what it's effects could be.

There is already a dead zone in the Gulf around the mouth of the Mississippi River. This dead zone grows and shrinks seasonally, and is caused by fertilizer washing down the Mississippi from the Grain Belt. The fertilizer feeds bacteria and algae which bloom, die and decay, stealing the oxygen from the water and making it unlivable by marine life.

This oil spill could cause the entire northern cost of the Gulf to become a dead zone. First because the oil itself is toxic. Marine life will ingest or absorb the oil and die. The bodies will sink to the bottom where they will decay and the decay process uses up the oxygen in the surrounding water. Secondly because the oil forms a barrier across the top of the water which prevents the water from absorbing new oxygen. So, even those animals that would stay under the spill, or might be robust enough to withstand the poisons in the water column will still be at risk of suffocation.

That area provides 71% of the shrimp and oysters eaten here in the US, and 25% of the seafood overall. It is also home to endangered species like Kemp's Ridley and Loggerhead sea turtles, and it is the spawning grounds for a number of Atlantic fish species.

The Mississippi Delta (the large boot-shaped area of Louisiana south of New Orleans) has been disappearing at the rate of a football field every 30 minutes thanks to the channels cut into the marsh by oil companies. These channels allow salt water to flow into areas that were previously feed by fresh water from the Mississippi River. The plant life there can't handle the higher salinity and dies off, and the marsh becomes no more than islands of mud to be washed away by the tides without the plants to hold them together. If the oil gets back into the marshes and kills the plants the entire wetlands system, and a huge amount of Louisiana's land, could be washed away very quickly. Plaquemines parish could disappear entirely.

It is also very possible that the oil could enter the Loop Current, which is a segment of the Gulf Stream that pushes water eastward along the Mississippi, Alabama coasts, and down the western coast of Florida, around the Keys, and then into the main Gulf Stream, up along the Atlantic Coast, then over toward Europe.
No one really knows what would happen in such a situation, though some scientists have theorized that a large amounts of oil entering the northern Gulf Stream could have an effect on the world's climate.

This spill is bad, and getting worse. The best case scenario at this point is that it will take another 6 to 8 days to stop the flow, and that's if BP's untested plan to lower concrete and steel boxes over the leaks works. If it doesn't, oil could be spilling into the Gulf for the next 90 to 120 days while relief wells are being drilled. In various articles that I've read I've seen estimates ranging from the official 5,000 barrels a day, to an estimate of 20,000 to 25,000 barrels a day released by the environmental watchdog group Skytruth (based on their analysis of satellite and aerial images of the spill). I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. But whatever the flow rate, even if the flow were cut off today, the oil already in the water will have a massive, and horrible impact on the Gulf Coast, and beyond.

I'm crying for my home, for the turtles, pelicans, blue herons, oysters, dolphins, the fiddler crabs that live in the marsh grass, and for the marsh grass itself. I'm crying for the pure white beaches that will soon be a black, sticky, stinking mess. I'm crying for the fishermen, shrimpers, and oystermen, and the people like my parents, who's livelihoods depend on the tourist industry, and who's dream was always a house on the water. I'm crying for myself. And I'm crying for our entire planet.
gverutes
Amen brother!
standready
President Obama has stated that the Gulf will come back better than ever. I wonder what tar ball he has been smoking? He still has not met with BP's CEO, only low level lackies. BO now wants to control payouts so he can skim dollars instead of the oil.
Several BP internal memos have been release showing their dollars over safety attitude. Shame on BP but then the spill is not off the the coast of England so it is no big deal to them.
If they ever revise safety policy, they should require that each oil rig should have a supertanker with containment booms and skimmers on station.
Bikerman
standready wrote:
President Obama has stated that the Gulf will come back better than ever. I wonder what tar ball he has been smoking? He still has not met with BP's CEO, only low level lackies. BO now wants to control payouts so he can skim dollars instead of the oil.
Several BP internal memos have been release showing their dollars over safety attitude. Shame on BP but then the spill is not off the the coast of England so it is no big deal to them.
If they ever revise safety policy, they should require that each oil rig should have a supertanker with containment booms and skimmers on station.

I would like this thread to remain in the realms of science, rather than business or politics, but I should just address this quickly.
The notion that BP would not care because it is not an 'English spill' is far too simplistic. BP employs more people in the US than in the UK and is a major multinational. It has business interests in the US to at least the same level as in the UK, and, incidentally, the US stands to loose as much as we do if BP goes bust....
Nemesis234
standready wrote:
they should require that each oil rig should have a supertanker with containment booms and skimmers on station.

thats going to be some impressive boat they will have to have, lol... not sure if you quite realise the extent of this spill, not sure 1 boat could have made the slightest of difference when this thing blew. i have read reports that there are currently 100 ships trying to contain the spill.

back to topic, OP needs to man up, s**t happens, no point crying over it is there, nothing you can do so what will be will be. things always sort themselves out in the end, nature will do its thing and in 6 months this will be completely forgotten about.
Bikerman
Hmm...I doubt it. It depends pretty much on currents, winds, tides and other variables which I don't have any data for - but I'd be surprised if the US media are not employing hundreds of people to speculate about it....
It could do some very lasting damage - particularly to fishing, oyster/mussel banks/farms etc...I'm ashamed to say I know very little about the surrounding geography and demographic....
ocalhoun
silverdown
[quote="ocalhoun"]image removed to keep page short[quote]
HAHA funny picture lol Laughing
dhani
I think they should put the responsible for this in jail. The amount of oil in the water equals 150.000 big trucks, can you imagine. They will never be able to deal with this.
LittleBlackKitten
The thing you have to keep in mind is, reefs have an innate ability to recover from near death. As long as the oil does become solved before the entire region is killed, it WILL recover; the dead fish and corals will feed the new, and it will explode with life in a few years.
Bikerman
LittleBlackKitten wrote:
The thing you have to keep in mind is, reefs have an innate ability to recover from near death. As long as the oil does become solved before the entire region is killed, it WILL recover; the dead fish and corals will feed the new, and it will explode with life in a few years.
Any evidence for this 'innate ability' ?
Here is what we actually know:
http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/about/ecosystems/coralimpacts.html
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