Posts

Harvey Spill Tracker

New Citizen Pollution Reporting Tool, Now Available for Hurricanes

We’ve launched the SkyTruth Spill Tracker, a map-based tool to allow citizens on the ground in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean to quickly report oil and hazardous waste spills and other pollution incidents as a result of the storms.  

You can access the Tracker via mobile or desktop browsers at SkyTruthSpillTracker.org, or via the Ushahidi mobile app

Pollution Spill Tracker

Submit your report at SkyTruthSpillTracker.org

We operated a similar tool, the Gulf Oil Spill Tracker, during and after the BP oil spill in the Gulf in 2010.  We also helped the Louisiana Bucket Brigade launch their iWitness Pollution Map. If you’re reporting pollution in Louisiana, you might prefer to use the iWitness map.

How to Submit a Report

Click the + symbol in the upper left corner of the map to report oil, chemical or hazardous waste spills. Follow the prompts to enter a brief description of what you see. If you are able, please upload a photo or video showing the incident and hit submit.

A technology-driven non-profit with a mission to protect the environment by making more of it visible, SkyTruth launched this reporting tool to enable citizens to report environmental pollution as a result of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Read more about related work after the BP oil spill, the Taylor Energy oil spill, and Hurricane Katrina.

We believe if people can easily communicate their needs, organizations and governments can more effectively respond. Federal and state authorities will be able to download the reports in a standard *.csv format, readable by any spreadsheet or database software.

Contact Us

With your help, the SkyTruthSpillTracker should prove to be a useful resource for aiding the response and recovery efforts throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean. We encourage everyone impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to use the tracker. We are also interested in coordinating with other groups organizing similar pollution reporting efforts on the ground. Please email suggestions to us at info@skytruth.org.

 

 

Hands Across the Sand

Phil Compton, Sierra Club-Florida, refers to SkyTruth map during press event.

Folks concerned about offshore drilling in Florida held an event on February 13 called Hands Across the Sand. Sierra Club of Florida reports about 10,000 people participated. SkyTruth’s work related to last year’s oil spill in the Timor Sea off Australia made an appearance, in the form of a poster-sized map superimposing the Australia oil slicks on the Gulf Coast of Florida for scale. This was presented at a news conference hosted by a major coastal resort.

Our work is intended to communicate just how much ocean was affected by the 10-week-long Montara oil spill, and what a similar spill could impact if it were to happen in US waters. See the latest maps in our gallery.

Timor Sea Drilling Spill – Superimposed on Florida Coast

Given the big Hands Across the Sand event tomorrow that’s getting so much media attention down in Florida, we thought it would be interesting to take the cumulative Timor Sea oil slick footprint from the Montara / West Atlas blowout and spill last year and superimpose it on the Gulf coast of Florida. This is not a spill simulation; it’s just a map intended to show how large an area of ocean the Australia spill ultimately impacted during the ten-week period after the blowout until the spill was finally stopped:

Cumulative Timor Sea oil spill footprint superimposed on Florida’s Gulf coast.

This is based on SkyTruth’s analysis of MODIS satellite images provided by NASA throughout the event, from August 21 to November 1. Read all about it in this blog; see our large collection of images and maps; and follow us on Twitter to stay tuned in on all our latest work.

And if you like what we do, and want us to keep at it, please make a donationSkyTruth is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered with the IRS, and your donation is fully tax-deductible.

Offshore Drilling: Spillustrations

SkyTruth is getting barraged by requests from people around the country who want to know what could happen if an incident comparable to the Montara / West Atlas oil spill happened off their coast. In response, we’ve generated a series of illustrations that superimpose the area of oil slicks, as shown on satellite images of the Timor Sea disaster, on various parts of the US including:

These illustrations are not predictive spill models – they don’t take into account local winds, currents, shoreline configuration or bathymetry – but they do accurately portray what a Montara-sized oil slick would look like, as shown on some of the satellite images we’ve been collecting and analyzing for that ongoing event.

Illustration showing hypothetical Montara-sized oil spill off the Virginia coast.

The Montara spill is now in its 45th day, as efforts to drill a relief well continue. Using the oil company’s estimate of 400 barrels per day, over 750 thousand gallons of oil have spilled since the blowout on August 21. Using an alternative estimate of 3,000 barrels per day that is based on the actual published flow rates of nearby oil wells, over 5 and a half million gallons may have been spilled so far.

Timor Sea Drilling Spill – What If?

Since the US Congress and the Florida Legislature are debating the merits of allowing drilling for oil and gas much closer to Florida’s coast, we thought it would be interesting to illustrate what could happen if a Montara-style blowout occurred in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. We outlined the area in the Timor Sea where slicks and sheen were detected across 2,500 square miles on a satellite image, and overlaid that area along the Florida coast. One illustration shows the slicks originating from a point about 50 miles off Pensacola, in the vicinity of the Destin Dome drilling prospect. The other shows slicks resulting from a hypothetical blowout 80 miles offshore from Tampa Bay:

Hypothetical Montara-sized spill off Tampa Bay, Florida

These are just illustrations, not quantitative models, and they don’t take into account local currents or wind. But they are based on the ongoing reality of the Montara blowout and spill.