Thursday, May 27, 2010
While we're holding our collective breaths about the top kill operation, the oil remains out there. The New York Times has two excellent maps giving a sense of the extent of the damage and the risk.
This one shows the shoreline that has been impacted.
This one shows the development of the floating oil over time. Comparing the daily maps makes it apparent, as I said last week, that much of it is dissipating, so keeping the oil at sea is a good plan, at least insofar as the coastal impact is concerned.
I realize there's controversy about the booming strategy, but it seems to me that slowing down the progress of the oil to the shore has been a worthwhile proposition.
PS - Information I have just received while composing this is "So far the "top kill" effort, launched Wednesday afternoon by BP engineers, has pumped enough drilling fluid to block oil and gas spewing from the well".
This doesn't mark successful completion as I understand it, which admittedly is not that well. I believe they still have yet to kill the pressure at the surface. But it sounds like significant leakage is now, at least for the time being, stopped, and this is an important step to say the least. The prognosis for this amazing repair operation is now looking good.
Update: Here's the clearest simple explanation of the "top kill" I have seen, and it's consistent with the above.
Update: NASA time series video; h/t Andrew Sullivan and Houston Chronicle:
Image: clipped from the first New York Times link above
Posted by Michael Tobis at 7:15 AM