Tuesday, June 08, 2010
BP wrong again, this time about plumes
by Larry Geller
The government and university researchers confirmed yesterday that plumes of dispersed oil were spreading far below the ocean surface from the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, raising fresh concern about the potential impact of the spill on sea life.
The tests, the first detailed chemical analyses of water from the deep sea, show that some of the most toxic components of the oil are not necessarily rising to the surface where they can evaporate, as would be expected in a shallow oil leak. They are drifting through deep water in plumes or layers that stretch as far as 50 miles from the leaking well. [Boston Globe, Oil plumes spread far below surface, researchers say, 6/9/2010]
The article details the extent of several plumes, and includes fears of scientists that undersea organisms will be exposed to their toxic effects for some time.
The government’s confirmation of subsea oil plumes is significant in part because BP, the oil company responsible for the leak, had denied that such plumes existed, and NOAA had previously been cautious in interpreting the preliminary results from Joye’s group. “The oil is on the surface,” Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive, said last week. “There aren’t any plumes.”