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Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Because the original documents are always so much better than anything I could hope to make up:
August 4, 2010, Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response, Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center
Federal Science Report Details Fate of Oil from BP Spill
WASHINGTON – The vast majority of the oil from the BP oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead or dispersed using chemicals – much of which is in the process of being degraded. Much of this is the direct result of the federal response efforts.
A third (33 percent) of the total amount of oil released in the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill was captured or mitigated by the Unified Command recovery operations, including burning, skimming, chemical dispersion and direct recovery from the wellhead, according to a federal science report released today.
An additional 25 percent of the total oil naturally evaporated or dissolved, and 16 percent was dispersed naturally into microscopic droplets. The residual amount, just over one quarter (26 percent), is either on or just below the surface as residue and weathered tarballs, has washed ashore or been collected from the shore, or is buried in sand and sediments. Dispersed and residual oil remain in the system until they degrade through a number of natural processes. Early indications are that the oil is degrading quickly.
These estimates were derived by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of the Interior (DOI), who jointly developed what’s known as an Oil Budget Calculator, to provide measurements and best estimates of what happened to the spilled oil. The calculator is based on 4.9 million barrels of oil released into the Gulf, the government’s Flow Rate Technical Group estimate from Monday. More than 25 of the best government and independent scientists contributed to or reviewed the calculator and its calculation methods.
“Teams of scientists and experts have been carefully tracking the oil since day one of this spill, and based on the data from those efforts and their collective expertise, they have been able to provide these useful and educated estimates about the fate of the oil,” says Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Less oil on the surface does not mean that there isn’t oil still in the water column or that our beaches and marshes aren’t still at risk. Knowing generally what happened to the oil helps us better understand areas of risk and likely impacts.”
The estimates do not make conclusions about the long-term impacts of oil on the Gulf. Fully understanding the damages and impacts of the spill on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem is something that will take time and continued monitoring and research.
Dispersion increases the likelihood that the oil will be biodegraded, both in the water column and at the surface. While there is more analysis to be done to quantify the rate of biodegradation in the Gulf, early observations and preliminary research results from a number of scientists show that the oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill is biodegrading quickly. Scientists from NOAA, EPA, DOE, and academic scientists are working to calculate more precise estimates of this rate.
It is well known that bacteria that break down the dispersed and weathered surface oil are abundant in the Gulf of Mexico in large part because of the warm water, the favorable nutrient and oxygen levels, and the fact that oil enters the Gulf of Mexico through natural seeps regularly.
Residual oil is also degraded and weathered by a number of physical and biological processes. Microbes consume the oil, and wave action, sun, currents and continued evaporation and dissolution continue to break down the residual oil in the water and on shorelines.
The oil budget calculations are based on direct measurements wherever possible and the best available scientific estimates where measurements were not possible. The numbers for direct recovery and burns were measured directly and reported in daily operational reports. The skimming numbers were also based on daily reported estimates. The rest of the numbers were based on previous scientific analyses, best available information and a broad range of scientific expertise. These estimates will continue to be refined as additional information becomes available.
67% of this is going to go away all by itself, naturally, according to the finest scientific minds available. Image from NOAA and the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center.
Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Budget:
What Happened to the Oil ?
Jane Lubchenco, NOAA DOC
Marcia McNutt, USGS DOI
Bill Lehr, NOAA, DOC
Mark Miller, NOAA, DOC
Stephen Hammond, USGS, DOI
William Conner, NOAA, DOC
The following scientists were involved in developing the Oil Budget Calculator Tool
LT(jg) Charity Drew (USCG) original Excel Spreadsheet and application inspiration
David Mack and Jeff Allen (USGS) Application development and engineering
Rebecca Uribe (USGS) Graphic Design
Bill Lehr (NOAA) Lead mass balance and oil budget scientist
Antonio Possolo and Pedro Espina (NIST) Statistical oil budget model encoded as an R program
LCDR Lance Lindgren, CDR Peter Hoffman, CDR Sean O’ Brien, and LT Amy McElroy (USCG) Application requirements and user stories
Sky Bristol and Tim Kern (USGS) Project vision and management
Kevin Gallagher, Martha Garcia, and Stephen Hammond (USCG) Executive sponsors
The Following experts were consulted on the oil budget calculations, contributed field data, suggested formulas, analysis methods, or reviewed the algorithms used in the calculator. The team continues to refine the analysis and this document will be updated as appropriate.
Bill Lehr NOAA
Robert Jones NOAA
Antonio Possolo NIST
(ARC note: I added biographical resumé links next to each independent scientist name on the list continued below )
•Ron Goodman, U. of Calgary. according to the Icelandic National League of North America March 2008 newsletter, Dr Ronald Goodman, educated as a nuclear physicist, “the bulk of Ron’s career was spent with Exxon and Imperial Oil. Ron has been flown in to consult on many major oil spills, including the Exxon Valdez in 1989. Although retired, Ron continues to write and publish as an adjunct Professor of the Univ of Saskatchewan and the Univ of Calgary.”
•Al Allan, Spil Tec .(sic, name misspelled) http://www.spiltec.com/ holds 3 patents on oil cleanup burning and chemical dispersants. See next name below. Has been NOAA funded. http://www.crrc.unh.edu/center…
•James Payne, Payne Env. link showing 2009 NOAA funded Coastal Response Research Center at the U of New Hampshire where he is listed under “Transport and Weathering of Released Materials” “Field Verification of Oil Spill Fate….” Payne Environmental Consultants Inc does government studies on oil pollution
Dr James Payne works with the above Dr Alan Allen of Spil Tec. Name Listed with his under “Use of Natural Seeps for Evaluation of Dispersant Application and Monitoring Techniques”
•Ed Overton, LSU. Prof. of Enviro Sciences Currently being quoted on the LSU homepage BP May Not Need Oil Relief Wells After All “Frankly, if they can shut it off from the top and it’s a good, permanent seal, I’ll take it.” http://www.sce.lsu.edu/8/3/10
•Juan Lasheras, UCSD. Prof Dept of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Lasheras designed the first medical device approved by the USDA to induce hypothermia, and holds 39 medical patents. Co founder of InnerCool Therapies, Inc. Expert in bio mechanical fluid dynamics. http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.e…
•Per Daling, SINTEF Norwegian research company, Daling Per Snorre is full name, wrote papers on dispersants for Oil on Arctic ice http://www.sintef.no/Home/Publ…
•Michel Boufadel, Temple Univ. Dr. Boufadel works on testing dispersants and is studying shale gas fracking water pollution http://www.philly.com/inquirer…
Boufadel also serves on an oil spill modeling committee at the University of New Hampshire’s Coastal Response Research Center, which gets funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
* link from above re Ali Khelifa Env Canada and MMS
Technology Assessment & Research (TA&R) Program
Project Number 637
Date of Summary April 09, 2010
Subject Validation of the Two Models Developed to Predict the Window of Opportunity for Dispersant Use in the Gulf of Mexico
Performing Activity Environment Canada
Principal Investigator Dr. Ali Khelifa and Mr. Ben Fieldhouse
Contracting Agency Minerals Management Service
Estimated Completion December 31, 2010
Description In a previous MMS-funded research project entitled: Identification of Window of Opportunity for Chemical Dispersants on Gulf of Mexico Crude Oils http://www.mms.gov/tarprojects… two correlation models were developed to predict the window of opportunity (or time-window) for successful chemical dispersant use in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The models consist of correlation relationships established using best-fit correlation between readily available fresh oil properties and the window of opportunity for successful chemical dispersant use estimated using data from GOM crude oils and spill volumes of 1,000 and 10,000 barrels. The study showed that combination of Sulfur, Saturate and Wax contents of the fresh oils correlated best with the time-window for dispersant use.
This project aims to validate and improve the two correlation models using a well know oil spill model OILMAP, adding crude oils from outside the GOM for which physical and chemical properties are available, introducing ten new crude oils from the GOM for which physical and chemical properties will be measured in this study, considering existing data from large tank tests and field trials/spills, and using data from new small tank tests. The project also aims to evaluate the sensitivity of the models to water temperature, wind speed and the oil viscosity with the aim to include effects of these parameters into the models.
Objectives: the goals of the one-year research project are:
1. To validate the time-window predicted by SL Ross for the 24 crude oils selected from the Environment Canada’s oil propriety database and using the SLROSM oil spill model.
2. To validate and to improve the two correlation models proposed by SL Ross using 24 or more additional crude oils outside the GOM for whish physical and chemical properties are available in the Environment Canada’s oil property database or provided by the MMS;
3. To validate and to improve the two correlations models using ten new crude oils from the GOM. Physical and chemical properties of these new oils will be measure in this study;
4. To perform sensitivity analysis of the correlation models to show how the time-window varies with temperature, wind speed, viscosity cutoff (threshold) and the spill volume;
5. To validate and to improve the correlation models using existing data from large tank tests and field spills;
6. To validate and to improve the correlation models using new experimental data from small tank tests. The new dispersion experiments will be conducted in this project.
7. Data Analysis and Final Report Preparation.
Progress MMS has sourced two crude oils from the Gulf of Mexico and ten crude oils from offshore California for this project. Samples have been sent to Environment Canada for analyses and reporting. EC has initiated analyses of these crude oils. Researchers at EC are conducting modeling experiments to validate the time-window predicted by SL Ross (Task 1). The completion date for this project has been extended until December 31, 2010. It took MMS more than ten months to acquire the crude oil samples from platforms offshore California and the Gulf of Mexico. The delay on this project was due to the government, not the contractor Environment Canada
Even Environment Canada is a U.S. government Federal contractor for MMS, Mineral Management Services, not an “independent scientist.”
Can you say “the Federal Government of the United States paid you to draw the conclusion before developing the hypothesis and researching possible outcomes ?”
And we were wondering why the EPA’s director Lisa Jackson backed off cracking down on BP’s continued use of Corexit dispersant underwater, after initially saying that EPA would do so.
I think you can now conclude without any risk of being labeled a CT, that MMS was indeed in the middle of a big “science experiment” on the humans and wildlife in the Gulf, using toxic chemicals to hide the true volume of the spill, on behalf of a private foreign owned corporation operating in U.S. territories.
edit update. added 2 pictures.