Top Florida Oceanographer says it may take DECADES “for all of this stuff to eventually come to the SURFACE”– “Could be an ongoing PLAGUE”

The News Observer (Raleigh. NC) reported about "a realistic time frame for a true cleanup."

Chairman and professor in the Rosenstiel School's Division of Applied Marine Physics at the University of Miami, Hans Graber, says, "That even after all the surface 'skimmers' are gone, 'It's probably a fair guess to say we're looking at years, if not tens of years, for all of this stuff to eventually come to the surface.'"

The article adds, "Oil floating underwater, beyond the reach of cleanup efforts and not exposed to sun, wind and wave action, could be an ongoing plague."

7 comments to Top Florida Oceanographer says it may take DECADES “for all of this stuff to eventually come to the SURFACE”– “Could be an ongoing PLAGUE”

  • Mark

    what a friggin joke.
    May take decades for the oil to surface?
    Come on !!!

  • Robert

    If the density of a chemical blob floating in sea water exactly matches that of the surrounding seawater it will neither move up or down. The density of seawater depends on temperature, pressure(depth) and salinity. The density of the chemical blob can change over time due to physical mixing, continuing chemical reactions in the blob and other reasons. It is hard to imagine a chemical entity floating in a body of water not moving either up or down over time. It will move up or down till it finds a depth in the water where its density matches that of the surrounding seawater. If its density exceeds that of seawater at all depths it will sink to the bottom. Conversely if its density is lees than that of the seawater at any depth it will rise to the surface.
    Due to the importance of more exactly understanding this specific case. I suggest the professor or somebody in his department write a paper and do some experiments with Louisiana crude- Corexit mixtures to clarify this phenomena.

  • art hung lo

    Since Corexit is a highly toxic chemical that was applied in tremendous amounts to the gulf water, why isn't anyone speaking about the toxicity of it and how it will effect the gulf water environment as well as the states connected to the gulf ? Also, why don't we see on tv or read in the news any of the people who live along the gulf to see what they have to say or interview the fishermen first hand ? If there is nothing to hide then let's hear from the real folks as to what's going on !

  • The Northern Gulf of Mexico is known to have a strong pycnocline particularly during the warm months that not only creates a hypoxic zone but also creates a zone of no mixing, as Robert has pointed out, due to depth, temperature, salinity. Those resulting haloclines, thermoclines, etc. create barriers that discourage vertical mixing in the water column. Since the spill was deep water (overlooking for the moment the Corexit) we know that there should be a large amount of oil trapped beneath these clines.

    The pycnocline breaks down a little bit in the winter (although the halocline is still strong due to Mississippi effluent) so we can expect to see some, if not a lot, of oil surfacing this winter, and perhaps many winters following.

  • Seasonal deepwater upwelling destratifies the layer boundries of temp and salility (theroclynes and haloclynes). Hurricanes accelerate this process. There are three issues.

    The saturated levels of methane in the plumes is not being considered a problem.

    The biodegredation of the hydrocarbons is limmited by the availability of dissolved oxygen.

    The combination oil/dispersant is an order of magnitude more toxic than either of them seperatly according to a four year toxicity study in 1991.

    Phytoplanton are already bioaccumulating the toxins according to one of the latest studies

  • insanityrules

    There are three issues. The saturated levels of methane will become aerosolized. The hydrocarbons will become aerosolized. The oil/dispersant will become aerosolized. All with the first really good storm.

  • herb fleming

    How very wrong was I on learning of the spill.I told my handyman that it would take a thousand years for the earth to repair the damage done to the gulf.On reflection I can say that it will never be repaired,can never be undone.It can only get worse,much worse, and in the end man will destroy our world:with oil and greed and stupidity.It's over!!!!!!!!

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