Friday, April 30, 2010

Now What? Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico Observations by Deborah Dolen

Now What? Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico Observations by Deborah Dolen (AFP/Getty Images)

Get ready to see emancipated dolphins, gasping sea turtles and whales that cannot take it. BP's well is spewing about 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the ocean, according to Coast Guard estimates. This is much more than the 45,000 gallons a day people were told a few days ago. This spill will rival the Exxon Valdez and be more spread out because the sweet crude oil is not entering cold waters where it tends to gunk together, warm, it breaks apart easier and some oil will fall to the ocean floor. Falling to the bottom is not a good thing as many marine life eat off the bottom. Warmer water temperatures offered by the Gulf of Mexico is the same reason this oil spill is not easy to set afire as 95% of the spill is already mixed with the water. The comparatively warm waters of the gulf also move the oil spill faster than in the Valdez crises. But the best comparison, discussed at the end of this article in not Valdez. The best comparison to an oil spill of this likeness an origin is one that happened last year in September off the coast of Australia in the Timor Sea.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is presently headed to the Mississippi river. What impact it will have on fresh water supplies will be an urgent question. The areas trillion dollar fishing industry is already past the risk stage, and lawsuits are being rushed to the court houses by fisherman already damaged – primarily shrimp fishermen. The other coastal states need not worry, there is enough sweet crude oil spewing to go around for everybody. As soon as the current goes south east, and it will, a major undertaking to protect Alabama and Florida wildlife and coast lines will be underway.

Greenpeace's Hocevar said he's particularly concerned about the impact to critically endangered bluefin tuna. "It's their spawning season and bluefin larvae in this part of their life-cycle would be near the surface of water," Hocevar said. The oil could also harm sea turtles, which are approaching nesting season; fin whales; menhaden, a fish species harvested mostly for fish meal and fish oil; bottom-feeding oysters; and numerous species of birds, according to Hocevar.

Florida environmentalist report endangered sea turtles are in the gulf preparing any day to begin the difficult process of nesting on Florida’s beaches. Manatees’, the vegan loving walrus looking creatures are not going to fare well either in floating gas. There is no data on the effect of an oil spill on Manatees because they have never been out playing in an oil slick. Dolphins are expected to also experience crises due to the oil spill, such as emancipation, a hallmark of the Australian oil spill last year.
Read about Ringo a dog flown in from Katrina. Official Bio of his owner and short Bio. RSS Syndicated Feeds on the environment. How Twitter is best used. Deborah Dolen Books on Amazon. Review of her books on Open Library, Paperback Swap, Good Reads and ReviewScout. You can also read Google Profile. Deborah Dolen on MySpace Facebook, and Flickr. This is our favorite blogspot. See Deborah Dolen on YouTube and her last book written London Apothecary and book.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill Size of Rhode Island by May 5th, 2010 by Deborah Dolen (AFP/Getty Images)

Impact's of BP Gulf Oil Spill 2010 writer Deborah Dolen (AFP/Getty Images)

Whatever we learned from the Exxon oil spill will come in very handy as the colossal body of floating oil from the downed BP rig creeps towards the Louisiana, Alabama and Florida coast lines. By May 5th, 2010 the oil spill will be the size of Rhode Island. The oil spill is so large now that NASA can access satellite images of the oil spill from space. The latest currents are pushing the Gulf oil spill northward, toward a chain of barrier islands off Louisiana. Any change in currents over the next three days will be detrimental to Florida’s coast lines. At the moment the oil spill covers 450 square miles and growing. 42,000 gallons a day of oil have been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20th, 2010. Floridians’, already exasperated from arguing they do not need oil drilling off Florida’s coast, are now busy contemplating options for what seems to be an imminent threat to the coast line and its precious wild life.

(Photo courtesy of NASA - Day 6 of Spill Click photo to see oil slick marker)

Florida has already lost 400 manatees, (8% of the Manatee population) 200 sea turtles and millions of fish in the record breaking 2010 Florida freeze when gulf waters dropped below 55 degrees for prolonged periods. Not that anyone cares, but that same freeze cut SW Florida’s infamous python problem in half also, which is an estimate by Fish and Wildlife staff. [No one has gone out to the marshes to ask how they are doing, so it is just an estimate.]

Regarding the April 20th, 2010 BP rig explosion, Doug Suttles, the chief operating officer for exploration and production at BP, defended the company’s efforts, and said the cleanup was costing $6 million a day. He said engineers had not given up on engaging the valve and were exploring other possible fixes.

Why a certain emergency value that was supposed to work in situations like this, failed to work, will most likely be the subject of congressional queries for later. On other fronts the Coast Guard is trying to set the floating oil ablaze and hopefully reduce the threat. The oceanic agency issued a guide to the burn that advised as follows:

“Based on our limited experience, birds and mammals are more capable of handling the risk of a local fire and temporary smoke plume than of handling the risk posed by a spreading oil slick. Birds flying in the plume can become disoriented, and could suffer toxic effects. This risk, however, is minimal when compared to oil coating and ingestion.”

A burn does not get rid of the oil entirely. It leaves waxy residue that can either be skimmed from the surface or sink to the bottom of the ocean. As hurricane season approaches, Floridians may be praying the “opposite” prayer they normally pray: That a major storm comes in the gulf and blows the oil residue issue out.

As far as stopping the actual oil leak, skeptics are saying containment is almost impossible, and trying to assuage the oil leak will go on for some time. The same skeptics fear the oil will reach a certain main current known as “the loop” that will cause major damage to the entire Florida coast line all the way down to Key West. “At the present time, the loop current isn’t reaching quite as for north as where this spill occurred, but it often does,” one expert said and added “if oil gets into the loop current, it can very rapidly get into the Florida Keys and the southeast coast of Florida.”

Deborah Dolen is an environmental writer who lives in SW Florida. Deborah is also Editor in Chief for Mabel White DIY. Join her on Twitter @deborahdolen @mabelwhitediy or at FaceBook

Read about Ringo a dog flown in from Katrina. Official Bio of his owner and short Bio. RSS Syndicated Feeds on the environment. How Twitter is best used. Deborah Dolen Books on Amazon. Review of her books on Open Library, Paperback Swap, Good Reads and ReviewScout. You can also read Google Profile. Deborah Dolen on MySpace Facebook, and Flickr. This is our favorite blogspot. See Deborah Dolen on YouTube and her last book written London Apothecary and book.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Iceland’s Volcanic Eruptions: Giving Food Storage a New Light by Deborah Dolen (AFP/Getty Images)

Iceland’s Volcanic Eruptions: Giving Food Storage a New Light writer Deborah Dolen (AFP/Getty Images)

The volcanic activity in Iceland is nothing to minimize just because the natural disaster happens to be around the globe, for now. Out of all of the natural disasters we worry about, such as three hurricanes, or tornados-if you will, joining forces to make

“the perfect storm” which takes out NYC, or my personal favorite, Washington, D.C. and its lobbyists,’ one good volcanic eruption would be the most probable mega natural disaster to put a wrench in the world’s engine and this has happened a few times in our rather short history.

No other natural disaster can compare and be more globally disabling than a major volcanic eruption and one that can cover the atmospheric globe in ash, catapulting us into an ice age. This would be history simply repeating itself as the “Mini Ice” age was primarily attributed to a heavy layer of volcanic ash that suspended itself into the atmosphere for years blocking sunlight. Almost overnight farmer’s could no longer get enough sun light to grow crops in Europe. Also emitted by eruptions is sulfur in the form of SO2 gas. When this gas reaches the stratosphere, it turns into sulfuric acid particles, which reflect the sun's rays, further reducing the amount of radiation reaching Earth's surface. It can take years to cycle out of the atmosphere.

So, where is Iceland? Iceland is located between the waterways of Greenland and United Kingdom. Iceland is built on a volcanic rock on the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge and it has grown used to eruptions. Iceland is known to be on top of the hottest magna part of the earth.

As we see in Iceland, the fall out reaches as high as 747’s, 36,000 feet, which is the issue at hand right now in Europe. Most over seas flight patterns were centralized on Howard Hughes Pan Am model refilling in Iceland or Newfoundland. The Iceland situation truly can affect changes to where we refuel. We are so young in our history, when those transatlantic flight plans were drafted, we have never seen what a good volcanic out burst can do. But Ben Franklin did see it.

It was only a few hundred years ago, in 1815, the eruption of Tambora in Indonesia blanketed the atmosphere with ash; and New England reported snow in June and July of that year. Looking back at history we were lucky it eventually cleared out as some events have been known to cover the globe for years. In reference to the Laki volcano eruption in Iceland, Benjamin Franklin during a lecture in 1784 made the following comments ‘….when the effect of the sun’s rays to heat the earth in these northern regions should have been greater, there existed a constant fog over all Europe, and a great part of North America…’

Naturally most aircraft are the first to be affected and prohibited to fly in volcanic fall out, but the ramifications can be fast, concise and awful to life as we know it. Europe, for example, reports only having enough resources to feed people for a month and the same is very true for the United States. If we have a situation like this in the states, we are only nationally prepared for maybe a month of food production only to graduate to empty shelves.

The situation is still not over in Iceland. They are playing a game of wait and see of the bigger volcano at Mt. Katla will be triggered to erupt. In 934 A.D., Mt. Katla erupted and produced the largest lava flow ever in the known history of the world. Again, affecting the weather, crops and live stock for years.

I grew up with a two year supply of food storage and rotation as being a really paramount practice. I slacked off on that until I went through a few major hurricanes and understood the intrinsic value of supplies-if not for you, for your neighbors. If I considered to slack off again I would read up on what one volcano can do. Creating a supply is not hard and can be in the form of just buying extra food each week, [that you could actually prepare and would want to eat] and storing it. Even $10 a week aside in long term storage foods can add up nicely in a time of need. I use Sam’s Club for that because I buy restaurant sized cans at a good price.

I will be adding more citrus and vitamin C products to my food storage. Lack of sunlight lends itself to among many things, a lack of any products containing vitamin C which then leads to scurvy. I am convinced if we have a global crises it will be the result of a volcano eruption and not anything else.