Friday, June 29, 2012

Same old song and dance

No big surprise here. Another slick apparently coming from Site 23051 in the Gulf. And another case of underreporting. It does seem to be the same old story, same old song and dance. The June 28 NRC report for this chronic leak, presumably filed by the responsible party - Taylor Energy - lists a spill volume of 16.59 gallons, and describes a slick 800 feet wide by 3.9 miles long. However, these MODIS satellite images tell a different story. In the top MODIS image from 6/28 you can see the slick pretty clearly:

MODIS Terra True Color image from 6/28





MODIS Terra True Color image from 6/28 with measurement of slick apparently emanating from Site 23051





And in this second image, you can see the length of the slick is a little more than the reported size of 3.9 miles. Using Google Earth's measuring tool, this slick is closer to 22 miles long. According to the  SkyTruth Alert for this report, using the calculations we use at SkyTruth to determine the size of a spill, and assuming a minimum average thickness of 1/1000th of a millimeter (1 micron) on the surface, we came up with a spill size of 404 gallons.  And that's using the description of the slick size given in the NRC report, even though the slick on his image taken the same day is much bigger than they reported. 

As you can see from the Site 23051 Chronology page we've been keeping, this is pretty standard practice for this location. And our Gulf Monitoring Consortium report shows this underreporting may be widespread.

We wish the companies reporting their spills would publish some details on how they come up with their numbers, so we could figure out why there is such a discrepancy between what they're reporting  and what we're observing.

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