Monday, May 10, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill: flow rate is questioned; just how big is it?

As the news from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill continues to seemingly go from bad to worse, I came across this widget provided by the PBS News Hour web site:

What is interesting and most disturbing about this widget is the ability to adjust the flow of oil based on the various estimates being provided by different companies or agencies. The number of 5,000 barrels per day that has been used in most news reporting is now being questioned, as it is being suggested that the number could be far greater.

Independent scientists and research groups have given estimates of 25,000 barrels per day (1,050,000 gallons daily). In fact, in a closed-door hearing today, a senior executive of British Petroleum stated that the number could get to be as high as 60,000 barrels per day or approximately 2.5 million gallons daily.

Read the PBS NewsHour article.

Also, if the size of the oil spill is a bit hard to fathom looking at a map of the Gulf of Mexico, Google Earth provides you with the ability to overlay the spill as its currently known over your city. You need to download the Google Earth software - it's free (click here) or try this link (click here).

The image above is what the spill currently looks like when overlaid on my hometown of Orange County, CA. It reaches from Los Angeles to San Diego and from Santa Catalina Island well into Riverside.

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