BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill effects

August 25, 2010

BP_oil_gulf_mexico_largeNow that the media hype surrounding the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill has largely died down, we think it would be of interest to track news & findings about the effects of this environmental disaster that might not make it into mainstream consciousness.

The lasting impression we had from the last batch of news released was that, as big as the disaster was (some 5 million barrels of crude oil leaked), there remained hope, even some considerable confidence, that naturally occurring microbes were busy seeing-off much of the oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.

It would now appear that previous US government reports on which this “news” was based have to be reconsidered in light of a 22-mile (35-kilometer) long oil-plume that has been discovered:

from National Geographic:

A giant plume from BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been confirmed deep in the ocean—and there are signs that it may stick around, a new study says.

Many scientists had predicted that oil-eating bacteria—already common in the Gulf due to natural oil seeps—would process much of the crude leaked from BP’s Deepwater Horizon wellhead, which was capped July 15.

But new evidence shows that a 22-mile-long (35-kilometer-long), 650-foot-high (200-meter-high) pocket of oil has persisted for months at depths of 3,600 feet (1,100 meters), according to a team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts.

Read full article HERE

Maldives first carbon neutral country?

March 24, 2009

maldivesThe pioneering new president of the Indian Ocean nation announces plans for his country – under grave threat from climate change – to go carbon-neutral in a decade

The president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, will today unveil a plan to make his country carbon-neutral within a decade. The announcement comes only days after scientists issued stark new warnings that rising seas caused by climate change could engulf the Maldives and other low-lying nations this century.

The president will formally announce the scheme – and make a plea for other countries to follow the Maldives’ lead – this evening, following the world premiere of The Age of Stupid, a major new climate change film in which a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055 looks at old footage from 2008 and asks why people didn’t stop climate change when they had the chance.

From The Guardian: Read full article here

UK Nuclear industry killing billions of fish

April 14, 2008

The nuclear industry in Britain is killing billions of fish every year and taking a devastating toll of stocks, an Oxford University academic suggests.

The impact can be so severe in the worst-affected regions of the seas around Britain that death rates are equivalent to half the commercial catch for some species.

Coastal power plants that have cooling systems that extract water from the sea are to blame for the destruction, according to Peter Henderson, an environmental researcher.

Figures he has compiled suggest that the damage to fish stocks is much more severe than records have indicated previously. He calculated that had the young fish killed in power stations survived they would have added thousands of tonnes of fish annually to Britain’s stocks.

Dr Henderson is concerned that too little account is taken of the impact on fish stocks of the deaths of many billions of eggs and young caused by coastal power plants, both nuclear and conventional.

From the Times Online:

Video: Satellites tracking the global melt

April 9, 2008

Fascinating video explaining how environmental monitoring satellites are tracking global warming by watching polar ice melt.

A study of polar bears in the south Beaufort Sea, which spans the northern coasts of Alaska and western Canada, found that adult males weigh less and have smaller skulls than those captured and measured two decades ago.

The study does not directly blame the changes on a decline in sea ice. However, fewer cubs and smaller males are consistent with other observations that suggest changes in sea ice may be adversely affecting polar bears.

From LiveScience: Watch the video