Gulf Oil Spill – May 7, 2010

Here’s a look at some of the limitations of the NASA / MODIS satellite imagery. Today’s Aqua image, like those of the past few days, has suffered from problems that make it impossible to map the full extent of the slick: clouds, haze, nearshore turbidity, and plumes of sediment issuing from the Mississippi River outlet channels (the Terra image today is even worse):

Only the thickest part of the slick is visible, as brown ropy-looking stringers in the vicinity of the leaking well. We think thinner slick and sheen could actually be spread across a much larger area. Compare with this map published by NOAA, showing oil slicks from May 2 to May 6 as mapped by aerial surveys, and May 7 (orange) as predicted by their oil spill trajectory model:

NOAA map showing oil slicks May 2 – May 7, 2010.
3 replies
  1. New Orleans Ladder says:

    Please call this the BP Oil Disaster.
    We are all trying to counter BP Public Relations and call this Disaster by its proper name. For one thing, once it catches the Gulf Stream it will no longer be just the Gulf oil spill. For another, it isn't a Spill but a River –which you all were the first to nail!

    Thank you so much for your hard work.
    You have come through where so many have not.
    Editilla~New Orleans Ladder

  2. John says:

    NOL – thanks for the kind words, and the perspective. BP is the legally responsible party for this spill, so they certainly "own" it.

  3. New Orleans Ladder says:

    Thank you for the kind reply!
    Bob Bea, our engineering hero down here where the Corps levees failed has done it again and leaked BPs own report to the AP.–Series-of-failures-led-to-rig-blast/6998248
    You may want to sharpen your sense of causality in this.
    We also cannot allow BP to pass blame.
    The public relations resources BP is employing here (and they are not alone there) are on an order of magnitude greater than what we had to deal with the Corps of Engineers saying that it was the Hurricane and not their failed engineering.

    That said, you cats have More than stepped up to the plate here and laid it on the line.
    I'm certainly not asking that y'all get into calling them names like Editilla (BigPig:)
    We'll take care of that hehehe.
    Just Name the Event what manifests it.

    Names are important, SkyTruth.
    Yours has almost become and eponymous with Honest Satellite Data Interpretation (And I've noticed no one has contradicted your math either.), at least down here.
    When I saw the word SkyTruth I knew exactly what was happening here. Now when I see NOAA I do not and that bothers me to no end.

    Thanks again y'all and keep up this vital work.
    Editilla~New Orleans Ladder

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