21 Sep 2011:
Burning Oil from BP Spill
Emitted Millions of Pounds of Black Carbon
The deliberate burning of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster released 1.4 million to 4.6 million pounds of black carbon into the atmosphere
during a nine-week
Smoke billows from controlled burn
period, according to a new study by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). That amount significantly exceeds the quantity of soot emitted from ships in the Gulf Of Mexico during a typical nine-week period. The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters
, found that the average size of the black carbon particles was much large than those emitted by other sources in the Gulf. Black carbon, which is the most light-absorbing particle in the atmosphere, contributes to global warming and is known to pose a health threat to humans. Another new study, conducted by researchers at Auburn University, showed that toxic tar balls found on Alabama beaches this month after being churned to the surface by Tropical Storm Lee had an “essentially identical” chemical composition
as oil mat samples collected after the Deepwater Horizon spill, indicating that large amounts of coagulated oil are still present on the sea floor.
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A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
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, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.