Thursday, June 03, 2010

Another view: how far has the Gulf oil spread now?

As in the images I've posted previously, here's a visualization of the extent of the BP oil gusher superimposed on San Francisco. Note that since last week, the oil has overrun Sacramento and pushed farther toward the Sierras.

This one is from Ifitwasmyhome; it uses your location as the center if it knows it. You can enter other locations in the bar at the top.
As of Monday, more than 25 percent of the Gulf waters were closed to fishing.

Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that we better get used to this -- the oil well may not be capped until Christmas.

Ending the year with a still-gushing well would mean about 4 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf, based on the government's current estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels leaking a day. That would wipe out marine life deep at sea near the leak and elsewhere in the Gulf, and along hundreds of miles of coastline, said Harry Roberts, a professor of Coastal Studies at Louisiana State University.

So much crude pouring into the ocean may alter the chemistry of the sea, with unforeseeable results, said Mak Saito, an Associate Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

My emphasis. We need to get used to this.

I also think Monica Potts is prescient about the political consequences of such a prolonged spill.

The undirected frustrations Americans feel about the economy are only reinforced by this slow-moving, ridiculously huge catastrophe, and that could be really bad for the Democrats in November.

Unless people in this country can learn to respond to crisis in an imaginative, can-do spirit, like that shown by FDR in Depression and the war against the fascist powers, we are in for a dispiriting period of lurching from shock to shock and wondering what happened to our imagined immunity from pain.

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