24 Sep 2010:
Underwater Video Confirms Gulf Spill Worst in History, Study Says
Researchers say a sophisticated analysis of underwater video confirms that the BP oil spill was the largest marine spill in history. Using optimal plume velocimetry technology that allows for detailed calculations of fluid flow rates shown in video footage, researchers at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory estimated that about 56,000 barrels gushed into the Gulf of Mexico daily from April 22 to June 3, and another 68,000 barrels leaked daily from early June until the cap was installed July 15. A total of 4.4 million gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf, greater than the federal estimate of 4.1 million gallons, according to the study, published online in the journal Science. The velocimetry technique, developed by marine geophysicist and lead author Timothy Crone to examine water shooting out from mid-ocean ridges, breaks down movement in imagery to the individual pixel. Revised oil-loss counts have an impact on fines levied on BP for violation of the Clean Water Act, and better enable scientists to account for all of the leaked crude.