July 27, 2010

"The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected..."

Oh, no!
The immense patches of surface oil that covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the April 20 oil rig explosion are largely gone... [The] few remaining patches are quickly breaking down in the warm surface waters of the gulf....

The gulf has an immense natural capacity to break down oil, which leaks into it at a steady rate from thousands of natural seeps. Though none of the seeps is anywhere near the size of the Deepwater Horizon leak, they do mean that the gulf is swarming with bacteria that can eat oil.
Storms also helped, along with evaporation.

61 comments:

El Pollo Real said...

I suppose the oil-consuming bacteria wind up a tasty link in some critter's food chain so it's win-win!

What if there's a bountiful harvest on the horizon? Will people freak out?

rhhardin said...

It's a good thing BP has already been shaken down for the $20 billion, says Rush.

AJ Lynch said...

Too funny!

RuyDiaz said...

So, all those young men and women signing undergrads for 'Save the Environment Florida', have been toiling for nothing? Who does the environment think it is, saving itself like that?

David said...

Oil breaks down in sunlight. Some of it vaporizes. Some sinks.

The rest becomes a talking point.

Eric said...

But people haven't stopped hyperventilating. Now apparently the entire gulf regions is gonna be dead forever because there's so much methane dissolved in the water.

Or, alternatively, there's no surface oil because it's lurking under the surface because of dispersants.

mc said...

Yeah.

Bacteria.

And Obama is president.

The sea and it's troubles are receding.

Good grief.

Lem said...

Like the WH with the Sherrod video, BP tried to get ahead of events thinking that it would be the best course of action.

Interesting.

David said...

From the article: "The gulf has an immense natural capacity to break down oil, which leaks into it at a steady rate from thousands of natural seeps. Though none of the seeps is anywhere near the size of the Deepwater Horizon leak, they do mean that the gulf is swarming with bacteria that can eat oil."

In other words, the environment has learned to save itself.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

A big irony that I've noted to my family is that by canceling the fishing season this season, it will give time for the stocks to recover. Expect a boom season in the future--a season when fishermen will make great bank while still whining about how they need to be bailed out.

Lem said...

Jindal is in a tough spot now..

Business fisherman want to go back and fish and Jindal has not given the ok.

One thing they could do is see if there were any studies that followed up on people that ate fish from the Prince William Sound Valdez spill back in 89..

Did anybody get tummy aches?

David said...

Joe said...
"A big irony that I've noted to my family is that by canceling the fishing season this season, it will give time for the stocks to recover."

The Grand Banks in the North Atlantic had a gigantic recovery from 1940-45.

edutcher said...

This was somewhat predictable considering the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez. At the time, however, our Establishment Media never mentioned it.

Another Journolist?

Ya think?

Chef Mojo said...

I've been getting Gulf crab meat for the last two weeks at the restaurant. It's about 2 bucks more expensive per pound than before the spill, but it's just as good and sweet as ever. This crab is coming from Bayou la Batre, AL, so I imagine they're getting back into the game.

Here's the thing people: Think of all the shipping that went down during the Battle of the Atlantic during WW2. Think of all the oil tankers that went down, shipping to the NJ refineries. Think of all that, and then think to yourself that life didn't end. That everything kept going.

Gene said...

Every time there's a oil spill (from San Francisco to Santa Barbara to Prince William Sound) it's always the worst oil spill and the greatest ecological disaster in the history of man. And the solution, we are always told, is to suspend the constitution, seize the oil companies and the oil tankers and make the airlines fly on chicken manure and cow dung.

And despite all the photos we keep seeing of the same oil soaked pelican six months later it's as if none of these had ever happened. I've got ecological disaster fatigue.

Beth said...

Don't jump to buy this. I want it to be true, but it also would make it easy for BP and the Coast Guard to pull up stakes. The dispersant is worrisome, and it's made it hard to know what's under the surface and on the floor.

I'm still eating Gulf seafood. I'm buying shrimp and crab, mostly. Oysters are not coming through this well, though, and that might take a few years to return full strength.

In any case, I'm not reading a headline and saying yay! it's over.

Beth said...

The leak is over, so yay for that.

Rose said...

It's a miracle. That's why Obama has that halo.

El Pollo Real said...

Hey Beth, I like your new fleur-de-lis avatar. It's very Saints and Scouting.

bagoh20 said...

How deeply disappointing. F*cking bacteria. They're always screwing shit up.

Penny said...

This is wonderful news!

Or is it?

Somewhere, out there, is a man or woman deprived of their paycheck for their "oil recovery work", and a volunteer who drove 500 miles to the gulf to save the ducks now flapping their wings and off to Canada!

Clearly, these people were SCREWED!

Penny said...

Sadly...it was figurative. ;)

bagoh20 said...

So this was all part of Obama's plan. It's why he never took action. He knew...he just knew. What bunch of non-believers. What will it take to convince you. The oceans aren't rising either in case you haven't noticed, smart asses.

Steven said...

I suppose the oil-consuming bacteria wind up a tasty link in some critter's food chain so it's win-win!

http://www.boemre.gov/omm/pacific/enviro/seeps2.htm

"In these studies, investigators found that bacteria were feeding on the petroleum and sulfide found in the sediments and tiny invertebrates living in the bottom sediments were grazing on the bacteria. The petroleum-based carbon reached the food chain through invertebrates eating the bacteria, and, in turn, being eaten by larval fish."

The Crack Emcee said...

"Save the planet!"

Save your mind.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Another one bites the dust.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

"The petroleum-based carbon reached the food chain through invertebrates eating the bacteria, and, in turn, being eaten by larval fish."

And then we eat the fish. Now see, you don't get that with your non-fossil fuels. They're lifeless, inorganic, un-American and pussified. Yeehaw!

Beth said...

Merci, El Pollo. I'm getting excited about seeing Brett Favre hit the turf a few more times in the opening game this season.

Beth said...

The LA seafood marketing people are already working on new ads: Gulf redfish: just throw 'em in the pan - they come pre-oiled! Black Drum will now be called Black Oil Drum. Gar will be Garrrgghhh.

El Presidente said...

But what about the plaintiff's lawyers?

euwe said...

It makes me wonder why BP went to all that trouble to stop the leak. It would have stopped naturally, and the ecosystem would have absorbed it anyway - and came out stronger for it.

These liberals are always trying to save the earth. It will outlast them.

dizzygirlio said...

Where did this oil dissolving bacteria come from? Is it naturally occurring or did someone put it there?

Scott M said...

Why is it that nearly every piece of news is either better than or worse than this White House expected? Isn't that just another way of saying that they have absolutely no idea what they're doing?

Scott M said...

How deeply disappointing. F*cking bacteria. They're always screwing shit up.

Actually, there's a few crank scientists out there that believe oil isn't fossil fuel at all, but rather an ongoing process created by still-not-understood bacterial processes at great depth, heat and pressure.

Would that it were true, but that's certainly on the "to-good-to-be-true" pile.

PatCA said...

I guess Obams will be letting the news cameras in now.

garage mahal said...

Merci, El Pollo. I'm getting excited about seeing Brett Favre hit the turf a few more times in the opening game this season.

And I'll be looking for him to eat turf in weeks 7 and 11. If anyone else would like to see Brett Favre eat turf in other weeks, please feel free to chime in. Do not hesitate.

Scott M said...

Brett Favre is caused by bacteria that eats turf.

Fen said...

Have to agree with Beth here: we're not out of the woods.

What I've read (may not be accurate) indicates that the mass of the oil is deep underwater and moving as a mass towards Florida.

Out of sight is not out of mind in this case.

downtownlad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
downtownlad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
downtownlad said...

Can we now give Obama credit for stopping that multi-million dollar boondoggle sandtrap that Jindal wanted to create.

Beth said...

dizzygirlio,

Both. There are bacteria that live in the depths that consume degraded oil, and we manufacture them as well.

Crabs and fish that spawn along the bottoms eat those bacteria, so the FDA and state agencies will be checking those populations out over the next few years to see what's getting into their systems.

As I understand it, we know what to look for in terms of oil and its constituent parts as it degrades, but not for how Corexit turns up in the food chain. As of a few weeks ago, those agencies were working on a lab test for that.

Calypso Facto said...

@ dtl: What credit should a deer paralyzed by headlights get?

tim maguire said...

So which politician was it who took a lot of grief for saying some of the oil will evaporate?

"What a maroon! Oil doesn't evaporate!" the critics said.

jeff said...

"Can we now give Obama credit for stopping that multi-million dollar boondoggle sandtrap that Jindal wanted to create."


What a stupid question......wait, DTL. Never mind. Carry on.

So hows it going now that Obama has legalized gay marriage and has no restrictions in the military and all that other stuff that you say is the reason you hate republicans? But if this was Bush under the exact same circumstances, you would have the same question, right?

Beth said...

tim, which politician? which critics?

Some oil evaporates in spills. By no means does all of it evaporate, or get eaten by microbes. It's silly to talk as if a leak of 150 million barrels can just be left to Nature. If this unnamed politician was shrugging off the need to kill the well, protect the coasts and marshes, and clean up as much oil as humanly possible, then he's an idiot.

But I doubt that's the case, just as I doubt serious people were screaming that oil never evaporates in any amounts.

virgil xenophon said...

SCOTT M @9:12am/

Not crank scientists. Some of the most prominent geologists, chemists, and experts in petroleum technology in Russia hold this view. I wold say that the state-of-play of our current knowledge and drilling experience wold indicate that this view is FAR from disproven and that any definitive answer to the question is currently up for grabs.

virgil xenophon said...

Beth@11:32 is pretty much on tgt here. What is often overlooked is that, while in the "long run" fish/seafood stocks may recover, etc., as well as the oil industry in Louisiana, people live their lives in the short-run; an entire culture/way of life is going to be destroyed and economic/financial ruin visited upon huge numbers of people in the interim getting from here to there.

It's like the story of the man six-feet tall who drowned while fording a stream that *averaged* only four feet in depth...

Scott M said...

@virgil

Not crank scientists. Some of the most prominent geologists, chemists, and experts in petroleum technology in Russia hold this view. I wold say that the state-of-play of our current knowledge and drilling experience wold indicate that this view is FAR from disproven and that any definitive answer to the question is currently up for grabs.

Occams razor at this point. I've only ready about it in places like PopSci and such. I've tried to do some online research on my own, but there's just as much chaff decrying it.

Again, it's definitely in the unicorns and light sabre catagory for coolness, but I've just not seen anything convincing yet.

On the other hand, there's a small firm that just got $50 mil in additional funding from investors...for work on cold fusion. Lot's more there and a much larger potential game changer.

Rick said...

Anyone ever hear that Katrina spilled 3 times more oil that BP? It's a fact you will never hear on Fox, CNN, etc.

Iggy said...

Right-wingers are breathing a sigh of relief: they can now continue to pretend that BP sits at the right hand of God, and don't have to stop poisoning things.

AlphaLiberal said...

oil evaporates? Really?

Does it rain oil somewhere else then?

This is BP PR BS.

Beth said...

AL,

Oil can break down in sunlight. The oil kept below the surface by dispersants doesn't do that, but sheen on the surface does. Again, saying "oil evaporates" isn't saying all oil evaporates entirely. It's just part of the process. Most of the oil needs to skimmed or somehow collected. You're right, if it evaporates, it's part of the water cycle.

Scott M said...

Components of oil can also piggyback water molecules, if memory serves, and rise up to mix with water vapor that would then condense.

mariner said...

David:

Oil breaks down in sunlight. Some of it vaporizes. Some sinks.

The rest becomes a talking point.



Actually, all of it becomes a talking point, even after it's long gone.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Yeah, "Oh, no!" is Althouse's shorthand for "That was fun. Let's do it again!"

HT said...

by macmcclelland at 1:59 pm
July 28, 2010

Why Is the Mainstream Media Helping BP Pretend There’s No Oil?


This post first appeared on Mother Jones.

“WASHINGTON (AFP) – With BP’s broken well in the Gulf of Mexico finally capped, the focus shifts to the surface clean-up and the question on everyone’s lips is: where is all the oil?”

NEW ORLEANS (Mother Jones) – I don’t know who the fuck these everyones are, but I’m happy to help out them, and ABC, and this AFP reporter writing that due to BP’s stunningly successful skimming and burning efforts, “the real difficulty now is finding any oil to clean up.”

I sent one text message to Bloomberg’s Lizzie O’Leary, who’s standing on Grand Isle, Louisiana, right now, asking how the beach looks. “Lower part past the barrier untouched with globs of oil that washed up last night,” she said. By “untouched,” she means by cleanup crews, and that “barrier” she’s talking about is the one the press isn’t allowed past. I sent another text to Drew Wheelan, who’s also in Southwestern Louisiana, doing bird surveys for the American Birding Association, asking him how big the biggest tar mat on Grand Terre—the scene of those now famous horrifying oiled-bird photos—is. “20 feet by 15,” he said. “But bigger ones submerged slightly.”

If I managed to find that much oil with my BlackBerry without getting dressed or leaving the house, let’s hope Thad Allen, who is quoted in the article as saying, “What we’re trying to figure out is where is all the oil at and what can we do about it,” can locate some more with the staff and craft of the United States Coast Guard at his disposal. As for the reporter’s alarmingly unsubstantiated claim that “The beaches should be relatively painless to mop up,” I can’t even count the number of correspondents down here who’ve pointed out that digging a finger under the surface of supposedly clean sand turns up crude, or the number of cleanup workers who’ve said cleanup efforts are strictly cosmetic, or that no matter what they do the contamination just keeps bubbling up.

It’s BP’s job to whitewash this story and make it easier to indulge the desire to forget about the scope of the devastation, guys. Not the media’s.

Gene said...

On the other hand, there's a small firm that just got $50 mil in additional funding from investors...for work on cold fusion.

I think cold fusion is like hot ice cubes--they don't exist. (But I'd love for someone entrepreneur/physicist to prove me wrong.)

There are a lot of people getting big bucks these days for developing things that don't work. I saw a video of a six foot wind generator that was supposed to revolutionize electric power generation, except when you saw the developer's prototype, which looked like some rickety old joke that someone made out of Tinker Toys. He didn't even have the power generation leads hooked up for fear, I suspect, the added drag would stop the thing from turning entirely.

Fen said...

Libtard: Right-wingers are breathing a sigh of relief: they can now continue to pretend that BP sits at the right hand of God, and don't have to stop poisoning things.

Oh fuck off. Obama and the Dems are knee-deep in bed with BP.