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Oil FAIL: Holy crap, look at that "tendril"!

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This image is the NASA Goddard / MODIS Rapid Response Team Text using the NASA Aqua satellite. Here's the full caption, and you can almost see the places where the scientists were writing, and where the PR people were inserting verbiage:

EDT on May 18, NASA's Aqua satellite swept over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill from its vantage point in space and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument captured sunglints in a visible image of the spill. The visible image showed three bright areas of sunglint within the area of the gray-beige colored spill. Sunglint is a mirror-like reflection of the sun off the water's surface. In calm waters, the rounded image of the sun would be seen in a satellite image. However, the waves in the Gulf blurred the reflection and created an appearance of three bright areas in a line on the ocean's surface. According to the May 18 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web update of the Deepwater Horizon incident, "satellite imagery on May 17 indicated that the main bulk of the oil is dozens of miles away from the Loop Current, but that a tendril of light oil has been transported down close to the Loop Current." The May 18 NOAA update also noted that "NOAA extended the boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf into the northern portion of the loop current as a precautionary measure to ensure seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers. The closed area is now slightly less than 19 percent of the Gulf of Mexico federal waters." Image credit: NASA Goddard / MODIS Rapid Response Team Text credit: Rob Gutro / NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Unfortunately, as Yves notes, NOAA's doing everything they can to prevent data collection and obfuscate and minimize data interpretation, and the scientists are pissed that politics and profits are the drivers. However, whichever administration flak chose the word "tendril," big ups! ("Close to" is good, too!)* Other commentary on the image from TreeHugger:

That Can't Be Good
Look at the scale of that thing! Based on the 25 km reference in the bottom left corner of the NASA image, the 'arm' is hundreds of kilometers long. ...

One thing's for certain, something is taking the oil in the Southeast direction rapidly enough that it doesn't spread too much. Look at how well-defined the edges of the slick are!

"Something" like the Gulf Loop Current, perhaps?

NOTE * And if you're that flak, do be sure to give Jon Favreau a jingle at promotion time! Note "tendril" already propagating in this headline. The lazy writer is the flak's best friend! Note "5000 barrels" lie propagating here. And so it goes...

NOTE This image is available at several sites, and to make sure -- not that I'm foily about my own "side" -- that the defined edges aren't PhotoShopped, I went to the NASA site and got the original, to which I linked. Just... Yikes.

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Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

BarackO's Oil: a metaphor:
Oil Change Fail - FAIL Blog: Epic Fail Funny Pictures and Funny Videos of Owned, Pwned and Fail Moments

Submitted by jawbone on

it seems to me that there must be measurments the government agencies are using.

That information is just not being shared with the public. OR, they're making important health and economic decisions based on SWAGs.

The first seems more likely.

Submitted by lambert on

Quoted here:

The BP strategy is thus very likely all about trying to maximize oil extraction by minimizing the appearance of damage and buying time while it drills a relief well.

Makes sense. And Obama's going along with it. Just like the bailouts. Those BP execs sure are "savvy businessmen"!

S Brennan's picture
Submitted by S Brennan on

The biggest oil spill in the history of the world is being called a "tendril" by Axlerod's spin machine...which is like calling WW II a school yard fight.

My Cousin [who has friends in the business] says the administrations estimate of 5,000 barrels/day is off by 195,000 barrels/day. Meanwhile, research ships whose instruments could give us an accurate ...estimate are being denied access to the area by the Obama administration. What next?

Year 10 of the worst back to back administrations ever....Scottie, beam me up...

Bryan's picture
Submitted by Bryan on

Those NASA photos are of the 5% of the oil that BP admits to, not the 95% of the oil that is below the surface in the "plumes". While everyone is watching the surface oil because of the pictures of beaches and birds, the majority of the oil is destroying the oxygen and life in the Gulf.

That "tendril" is probably some of the undersea oil coming to the surface, like the oil in salad dressing if you don't shake it for a while. The surface winds haven't been consistent with that track, so it must be the result of undersea currents.

It's amazing how many people didn't make the connection when the tar balls that beached at Key West were determined not to be from the Well from Hell - something else is leaking in Gulf.

Keep this fact in mind - NOAA is broke. The Republicans have been reducing its funding for a decade. Republicans don't like science, and NOAA does science.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Of Bartcop and his "Where's all the oil from Iraq?" meter during the Bush years.

I haven't read Bartcop in quite some time, but I'm betting that meter is still there.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

I do flow rate calculations right here.

Bottom line is I'm trying to find a source for the physical dimensions of the leak, primarily the diameter. With that it is fairly simple to work out the flow rate.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

is what I remember seeing for the largest pipe. But that's been all over the news, so you must mean some other data?

S Brennan's picture
Submitted by S Brennan on

British Petroleum executives, engineers, drilling supervisors on site & in their chain of command had or should have had reasonable foreknowledge of the events as they were about to unfold.

Part of this story has confirmation, the other part could be easily put to rest if untrue…through British Petroleum’s helicopter & Schlumberger’s flight log.

BP contracted Schlumberger (SLB) to run the (CBL) test that was the final test on the plug that was skipped. The people testifying have been very coy about mentioning this, and you’ll see why…SLB is an extremely highly regarded service company. Their determination has shut down unsafe operations in the past.

“SLB gets out to the Deepwater Horizon to run the Cement Bond Log, and they find the well still kicking heavily, which it should not be that late in the operation. SLB tells BP’s senior operation officer he should dump kill fluid down the well and shut-in the well. The BP’s senior operation officer refuses. SLB in the very next sentence asks for a helo to take all SLB personnel back to shore. The company man says there are no more helo’s scheduled for the rest of the week (translation: you’re here to do a job, now do it). SLB gets on the horn to shore, calls SLB’s corporate HQ, and gets a helo flown out there at SLB’s expense and takes all SLB personnel to shore.”

The well blew a few hours later.

Leading one insider to comment:

“British Petroleum executives, engineers, drilling supervisors on site & in their chain of command that had any thing to do with anyone of these actions should be brought up on charges of negligent homicide & multiple counts of negligent destruction to private, state, & federal property & have to answer for these indefensible decisions.”

Obama is British Petroleum’s biggest recipient of campaign cash, he hired Interior Secretary Salazar, who in turn hired former BP exec’s to manage the US offshore drilling.