Track the oil spill damage and response on a new federal map


As part of it’s continuing effort to be transparent about what’s happening in the gulf, the federal government today announced a new website where anyone can see a map of the gulf overlaid with the current location, size and shape of the oil spill. NOAA shepherded the website in an effort to provide a variety of information in “near real-time.”

The map, as depicted here, shows the area closed to fishing because of the oil slick demarcated by a red line. The bright yellow spot marks the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. Coastal regions are color-coded to show the level of oil exposure. Zoom in to see where the worst hit and so-far unhit beaches are. Different colors label these areas as having heavy, moderate, light or no oil contamination.

How the top kill operation works (if it works)

We’ve had to learn a lot while watching the excruciating efforts to cap the gushing BP oil well deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

The latest lesson on the chalk board is about deep sea pressures. The water pressure is so great at a mile below the surface that pumping material back into the ruptured oil pipe is an incredibly difficult feat. It calls for a special potion of drilling “mud” that can “lock up” against the force of the oil gushing out, and yet not freeze before doing its job or collapse at deep sea pressures and temperatures.

Oil spill update: The sky might not be falling, but birds are

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

As we await the landfall of the giant growing BP oil blob, the news compass has been whirling, pointing at at a raft of problems related to offshore oil drilling, and a few not related to offshore drilling.

Problem Number One: Money buys good PR

Yesterday we heard about how The New York Times quoted a fellow with a Texas-based conservation group as saying the oil spill wasn’t so terrible.

“The sky is not falling,” said Quenton R. Dokken , a marine biologist and the executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, a conservation group in Corpus Christi, Texas. “We’ve certainly stepped in a hole and we’re going to have to work ourselves out of it, but it isn’t the end of the Gulf of Mexico.”