Friday, May 14, 2010

A "Relatively Tiny" Spill

While some on the left may be still be concerned about the environmental impact of offshore drilling, I'm glad we put an end to those age old old left/right debates and embraced how awesome a never ending oil spill really is:
The amount of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico may be at least 10 times the size of official estimates, according to an exclusive analysis conducted for NPR. At NPR's request, experts examined video that BP released Wednesday. Their findings suggest the BP spill is already far larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska, which spilled at least 250,000 barrels of oil.

BP has said repeatedly that there is no reliable way to measure the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by looking at the oil gushing out of the pipe. But scientists say there are actually many proven techniques for doing just that.

Steven Wereley, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, analyzed videotape of the seafloor gusher using a technique called particle image velocimetry.

A computer program simply tracks particles and calculates how fast they are moving. Wereley put the BP video of the gusher into his computer. He made a few simple calculations and came up with an astonishing value for the rate of the oil spill: 70,000 barrels a day — much higher than the official estimate of 5,000 barrels a day.
While 70,000 barrels a day may seem like a lot, the CEO of BP wants to remind us to keep things in context. And by context he means to compare the size of the spill with the AMOUNT OF WATER EVERYWHERE ON THE FUCKING EARTH:
Tony Hayward, the beleaguered chief executive of BP, has claimed its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is "relatively tiny" compared with the "very big ocean".

In an bullish interview with the Guardian at BP's crisis centre in Houston, Hayward insisted that the leaked oil and the estimated 400,000 gallons of dispersant that BP has pumped into the sea to try to tackle the slick should be put in context.

"The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume," he said.
Gee, Tony I'm so glad the "total volume" of the spill isn't that bad when you compare it to the total amount of water in the Gulf of Mexico. I guess when oil starts crossing the Atlantic and washing up on British shores, then he'll start to think this is serious.

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