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‘Scientists’ Question Size Of Gulf Oil Spill

From an unquestioning (of the ‘scientists and environmental groups’) New York Times:

Size of Oil Spill Underestimated, Scientists Say


May 13, 2010

Two weeks ago, the government put out a round estimate of the size of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico: 5,000 barrels a day. Repeated endlessly in news reports, it has become conventional wisdom.

But scientists and environmental groups are raising sharp questions about that estimate, declaring that the leak must be far larger.

Are these the same scientists and environmental groups who accept without question the government’s projections about global warming?

They also criticize BP for refusing to use well-known scientific techniques that would give a more precise figure.

Are these the same scientists and environmental groups who accept without question Michael Mann and the CRU’s scientific techniques?

The criticism escalated on Thursday, a day after the release of a video that showed a huge black plume of oil gushing from the broken well at a seemingly high rate. BP has repeatedly claimed that measuring the plume would be impossible.

The figure of 5,000 barrels a day was hastily produced by government scientists in Seattle. It appears to have been calculated using a method that is specifically not recommended for major oil spills

Luckily, no “hastily produced” inaccurate global warming numbers have ever been repeated for years by the the United Nations, the US government or an obliging media. Or these self-same scientists and environmental groups would have been up in arms.

But exactly what real difference can it make at this moment whether the BP figures are precisely accurate or not? Unlike, say, basing national and international policies upon wildly inaccurate ‘climate change’ projections.

Policies that will have an almost been unimaginable impact upon the United States and the rest of the world’s economies.

Scientists said that the size of the spill was directly related to the amount of damage it would do in the ocean and onshore, and that calculating it accurately was important for that reason.

No, calculating the size of the spill is only important at this moment for propaganda purposes. But of course that’s the only reason this oil leak is being so heavily reported, anyway – for propaganda purposes.

BP has repeatedly said that its highest priority is stopping the leak, not measuring it. “There’s just no way to measure it,” Kent Wells, a BP senior vice president, said in a recent briefing

What a reactionary reaction. Their priorities are upside down. The important thing is to generate enough hysteria that offshore drilling will be banned forever — at least for the US. The rest of the world is fine.

A small organization called SkyTruth, which uses satellite images to monitor environmental problems, published an estimate on April 27 suggesting that the flow rate had to be at least 5,000 barrels a day, and probably several times that.

So this entire New York Times article is based upon a report from this “small organization” that guesses at numbers by looking at satellite photos?

The following day, the government — over public objections from BP — raised its estimate to 5,000 barrels a day. A barrel is 42 gallons, so the estimate works out to 210,000 gallons per day.

Surely this was ’cause and effect.’ After all, if an organization has ‘truth’ in its name, it must be reliable and the US government must adjust its numbers accordingly.

Environmental groups contend… that the flow rate is a vital question. Since this accident has shattered the illusion that deep-sea oil drilling is immune to spills, they said, this one is likely to become the touchstone in planning a future response.

Whoever said “that deep-sea oil drilling is immune to spills”? And how does knowing the exact size of the spill disprove that obviously inane contention, anyway?

“If we are systematically underestimating the rate that’s being spilled, and we design a response capability based on that underestimate, then the next time we have an event of this magnitude, we are doomed to fail again,” said John Amos, the president of SkyTruth. “So it’s really important to get this number right.”

Oh, well that explains everything. Except the part about why it is important to do it right this minute. Why can’t this be addressed when the leak has been stopped and real measurements can be taken?

Perhaps because then the final numbers won’t be as useful for whipping up hysteria.

For the record, SkyTruth is a tax exempt 501c3 ‘charity.’ According to their website, they are funded by, among others, the Tides Foundation:


SkyTruth gratefully acknowledges the efforts of our volunteers, contributions from many of our project partners, and generous support from:

    * The Brainerd Foundation
    * The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation
    * Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment
    * Patagonia Foundation
    * Tides Foundation – Alki Fund
    * Tiffany & Co. Foundation
    * True North Foundation
    * The WestWind Foundation

So we can be assured that SkyTruth does not have a leftwing political agenda.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, May 14th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “‘Scientists’ Question Size Of Gulf Oil Spill”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Oil spills must not be the end of life disasters experts hysterically scream at me.

    Or, Pearl Harbor would still be preventing me from swimming on the great beaches stretching all the way to Diamond Head.

    (geez, everybody calm down. oil is organic, natural and made by the earth, everything Al Gore wants)

    • AcornsRNutz says:

      also appears to be replenished within the earth’s crust (due in no small part to the fact that the earths core temp is millions of degrees). Russian scientists (obviously consider the source) determined in the 60s that he finite fossil fuel hteory on oil was largely inaccurate. Oil wells which have been sucked bone dry in the gulf of mexico have been surveyed ten years later and appear to have re filled. Considering that these evil oil companies won’t leave a well until it and all contributing wells are drained, where did the oil come from in 10 years? Now I can no more say that oil is semi-renewable than I can say Darwinian evolution is scientific law, but the argument on that side has been made by reputable geologists all over the world and have been ignored by gore and his crew. Wonder why?

    • GetBackJack says:

      The Abiogenic postulate for the reason oil exists, as contrasted to the BioMass theory.

      Biomass theory postulates that plants and animals make up the hydrocarbons that form into oil. Abiogenic was first proposed by Georg Agricola in the 16th century in its most nascent theory. Abiogenic hypotheses were revived in the last half of the twentieth century by Russian and Ukrainian scientists, and more interest was generated in the West by the publication in 1999 of The Deep Hot Biosphere by Thomas Gold.

      The idea … to me … that enough biomass created our oil is laughable on the face of it. I can’t even begin to imagine how many of compost and dead dinosaurs it would take to form the billions of gallons of oil that fuel the world’s economy.

      There is no Peak Oil. The earth’s core is an alchemical engine and we will always have oil.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      “(due in no small part to the fact that the earths core temp is millions of degrees)”

      GBJ, the high end estimates put the Earth’s core temp at 7300 deg K (~12,600F), not millions of degrees.

      Here: http://hypertextbook.com/facts/1999/PhillipChan.shtml

      Here: http://www.allmeasures.com/temperature.html

      However, the theory that fossil fuels were created by a mass of dead dinosaurs and forests is laughable. Given that so much of it exists and the necessary biochemical reactions that have to take place for it to occur make it actually quite an odd thing.

    • proreason says:

      I don’t find it laughable at all that a billion years of living creatures is enough to create the oil that we have extracted or that is currently in the ground.

      I don’t know anything about the theories of how oil is created, but clearly, if you accept that the earth has been around 4 billion years with animal life forms for about 25% of that, then you can’t exclude the biomass origination theory simply by saying there have not been enough life forms to create the volume of oil.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      As you wish, Pro. However, I view oil as another mineral, deposited in geologic strata just as gold, silver, etc. Perhaps not renewable but not created by critters/leaves and “the right circumstances” either. The “right circumstances” were as the Earth formed and left us all these neat deposits to find.

      Your argument that the Earth is several billions of years old is the tangible point, really. We will never know with any certainty in our lifetimes how some things are created. Eventually, perhaps. Synthetic diamonds are a huge industry now and that was the result of theorizing, experimentation and implementation. We may someday find a way to make oil cheaply as it’s already been synthesized but it’s financially impractical since it’s still cheaper to suck it out of the ground. And it may always be that way.

      There remains much to be learned. But this regime would rather invest useless money on windmills and solar panels instead of really investigating in more practical ideas. As I’ve said in the past, throwing money at technology doesn’t work in the way people might think it does. A more expensive solar cell doesn’t automatically increase its efficiency. It’s tantamount to saying to Galileo, “Here’s 50 million Lira, go discover Jupiter” when the lens hadn’t been invented yet. Or to Chris Columbus, “Here’s a billion pesetas, this should make to the new world faster as more money will result in steam and eventually, diesel power. I mean, we know it’s out there somewhere, but we can’t ‘discover’ it without money”. MacGyver wasn’t around yet, so only time would bring us to these inventions. And, largely, they only move at the pace that nature allows. Man, money and technology have to exist to allow them to come together at a given moment. Sure, money is needed for research but as they say in Texas, “You can’t push a string”.

      So it’s oil now and for some time to come until Mr Fusion is created or we can finally get that Ronco ‘car runs on water’ gadget to work.

  2. proreason says:

    “Scientists question size of Gulf Oil Spill”

    That’s enough for me.

    It proves the estimates are correct.

    • JohnMG says:

      ….“Scientists question size of Gulf Oil Spill”…..

      Somehow, if we can convince the public that the spill is MUCH, MUCH greater than the experts contend, then we can adjust the size of the FINE that will be levied against the oil company and other entities deemed responsible for the spill itself.

      Remember, it’s ALWAYS about the money. Another of Rahm’s crises about to be cashed in on.

      They’ve got a country to destroy, you know!

  3. BigOil says:

    BP is exactly right. First solve the problem.

    Once the leak is capped and routed to a storage vessel, BP can accurately measure how much oil was leaking.

    Working with accurate data would waste a valuable opportunity to whip up hysteria with the assistance of your willing accomplices in the media.

  4. NoNeoCommies says:

    If only this much “scientific” rigor was applied to climate change analysis.

  5. Paladin says:

    The easiest way to get rid of the oil is to burn it off.

    But first we need to make sure all the marine life is properly battered and breaded.

  6. canary says:

    The biggest ongoing lie, is officials saying they don’t know how many gallons of oil have leaked. A sure sign, we will never know. But, we know they know.

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