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2010 May 27 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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It’s Not Just The Oil

Gulf Gusher symbolMcClatchy reports on the initial findings on the USGS efforts to determine how much oil is gushing out of the Well from Hell: Runaway gulf oil well spewing far more oil than initially thought

Three groups of researchers, assembled by the government after independent observers viewing BP video of the leaking well openly disputed the 5,000-barrel figure, reached similar conclusions that the well was spewing 12,000 to 25,000 barrels a day — 504,000 to 1.05 million gallons a day.

[Head of the U.S. Geological Survey, Marcia] McNutt said an accurate appraisal of the leak hadn’t been possible until the last two weeks, when a tube inserted into one of the leaking pipes began drawing oil and gas to the surface. That allowed researchers to determine that 75 percent of what they were seeing on video spewing from the broken pipe was natural gas.

“That’s why we’re now now getting better estimates, because we can correct for the gas phase,” she said. Asked whether the spill has eclipsed the Exxon Valdez, McNutt demurred. “This is obviously a very, very significant environmental disaster and I think with the numbers I’ve given you, you can do the math.”

So we are seeing three gallons, by volume, of methane for every gallon of oil. How peachy that its mostly methane, a greenhouse gas twenty times worse that carbon dioxide, but people can’t see it so it’s not a problem, right?

May 27, 2010   Comments Off on It’s Not Just The Oil

Moving East?

Gulf Gusher symbolThe Pensacola News Journal reports that Suspected tar balls wash up on Pensacola Beach

Although about 100 suspected tar balls picked up on Pensacola Beach on Wednesday have not been linked to the oil spill, they have been sent to a lab for analysis.

A shoreline cleanup assessment team retrieved the material, and it likely will take a week to get the results.

The tar ball finds were part of an oil spill update county officials provided to Santa Rosa Island Authority board members Wednesday evening.

If any of these tar balls or the roughly 100 collected on Perdido Key over the weekend are associated with the BP spill, it’s the first evidence the oil spill has reached Northwest Florida shores, said Keith Wilkins, Escambia County deputy bureau chief for neighborhood and community services.

You will notice the use of the word “evidence”, an indicator that BP isn’t the only one thinking about law suits. Alas, past experience with BP says that any real settlements will require winning in court.

It’s hard to know whether the sightings of tar balls indicates something going on, or people taking the time to report the junk on the beach. Even if they do find that they contain oil from the spill, the oil could be from vessels working for BP going to and from the Bayou Chico facility, or vessels passing by in the Intercoastal Waterway.

Because of the massive use of dispersants, we really need submerged monitoring to warn us of the approach of the oil.

May 27, 2010   Comments Off on Moving East?

Forest Fires In Quebec

FireThe CBC reports that Quebec forest fires force 1,300 from homes:

Forest fires have forced 1,300 people from their homes on the Wemotaci First Nation reserve, located about 300 kilometres north of Trois-Rivières in central Quebec.

Four forest fires are burning out of control on the territory, and smoke and burning sparks were starting to affect the village, according to SOPFEU, Quebec’s forest fire protection agency.

Many residents are staying at an emergency shelter set up at a school in La Tuque, where the Red Cross is providing assistance.

The area is a lot like the Adirondacks of New York and the original New World home of many of the French Canadians in my family tree. Lots of old growth in those forests.

Roads are in short supply and the water bombers don’t seem to be making much of an impression on the fires.

May 27, 2010   Comments Off on Forest Fires In Quebec

2010 NOAA Hurricane Prediction

Tropical Storm FlagWhile this was a main story on the BBC and the CBC it was buried on US media sites. Apparently the “visuals” didn’t “grab” them.

Here’s the official version – NOAA: 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook.

Then’s there Dr Master’s version – NOAA’s forecast: a very active, possibly hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season.

My version is that there are a lot of good reasons to compare this year to 2005 [Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Wilma], and remember that the Greek alphabet goes alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, because it is quite possible that the 21 names chosen for the season won’t be enough.

May 27, 2010   Comments Off on 2010 NOAA Hurricane Prediction