Paper: BP “Disaster will continue for a decade or two” as oil moves “back into surface waters”

The unseen disaster, Austin American Statesman, June 27, 2010:

[B]eneath the sea surface is a toxic soup of oil, methane and dispersants, which is also killing many sensitive parts of the ecosystem. …

Its effects are probably more devastating to the Gulf of Mexico and the sustainability of the Gulf economy than those we have already seen. …

While most deep-sea habitats are primarily muddy bottoms, the Gulf of Mexico is unusual in that it has very complex bottom topography that includes many reefs, hard banks and deep trenches. …  The deep sea is about the same temperature as your refrigerator, so bacteria will not be able to break down the oil, and we can expect tar balls to emanate from this area for decades to come.

This also means that the disaster will continue for a decade or two as the oil within the environment continues to break down, dissolve and move back into the surface waters. Even though smaller amounts will be released in the future, it will still have population-level effects…

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