Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BP Oil Spill, Clean Beaches, and Maps

"Tracking the Oil Spill in the Gulf"
The New York Times (June 13, 2010)

"About the Oil Slick Areas Shown on the Map

"The 'estimated extent' of the oil slick is an estimate by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of where oil is mostly likely to go based on wind and ocean current forecasts, as well as analysis of aerial photography and satellite imagery...."

"...About the Estimates Used in the Chart

"The totals for the amount of oil spilled are calculated beginning from the initial explosion at 10 p.m. on April 20. While both oil and gas are leaking from the well, the estimates here are only for the amount of oil. BP announced on May 21 that the fluid leaking was roughly half oil, half natural gas...."

Back on The New York Times' page, the map is moderately interactive. Click on it, and it'll take you back, showing how the oil has spread.

If you want to maximize your horror at the total and utter devastation which Big Oil has wreaked on the walruses of the Gulf (discussed in a BP report), go back to the first weeks of the spill. Those gray areas were spreading fast.


Now, not so much.

This may sound like blasphemy, so brace yourself. Or, better yet, click to another post.

Still with me? Okay. Looks like folks who want to go to the Gulf and be horrified in person at the terrible oil spill may want to plan ahead:

"Currently Corpus Christi and Upper Padre Island beaches have NOT been affected by the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 'The oil slick remains at least 150 miles from Texas waters and is unlikely to spoil Texas beaches or wetlands,' according to Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson...."

BP Spill: Massive, Yes; Everywhere, No

Seriously? It's a massive spill, and will be very expensive to clean up. But maps on The New York Times' website, a phone call, and some checking around told me that there are vast swatches of the Gulf shores that aren't affected by the spill.

Which doesn't seem to be spreading as fast as it was. Nowhere near as fast.

Here are two maps, showing the the extent of the spill June 13, Sunday, and May 30, two weeks before that.

May 30, 2010

June 13, 2010
(from The New York Times, used w/o permission)

Beaches: Fouled and Otherwise

CNN ran this article yesterday:

"Gulf Coast beaches update"
CNN (June 14, 2010)

"Oil coming ashore on the Gulf Coast has tourists keeping a close eye on conditions. States and visitors bureaus are working hard to keep the public updated and reassure beach-bound travelers.

"Here are some of the latest updates from destinations affected by the oil disaster:

"Northwest Florida

"All of Florida's beaches remain open, according to Visit Florida, the state's tourism corporation. Scattered tar balls have been found from the Alabama-Florida state line east to Walton County...."

Like I said, call ahead. If someone comes to the Gulf Coast, hoping to be appalled at the utter devastation and hopelessness of it all - that earnest person may be sorely disappointed.

Yes, there are some beaches with oil on them:

"...Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

"Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, have experienced significant oiling, accoring to the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau...."

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