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Mississippi River Delta and Gulf of Mexico Waters by Oil Spill – July 12th, 2010

29.1N 89.2W

July 12th, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day, Rivers

USA - June 24th, 2010

USA - June 24th, 2010

This image shows the Mississippi River Delta and the water around the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. Sediments spilling from the delta tinge some of the water a greenish color. Other dark black areas may be oil, although the precise location of the oil slick is best observed in other images taken by radar or with sun glinting off the surface: click here.

BP and now estimates that they have spent in excess of $3 billion attempting cap off the leaking well and in attempts to clean up the devastation caused by the oil slick.

According to the company the use a giant tanker which has been specially adapted in order to skim off huge quantities of crude from the surface of the ocean has proved to be inconclusive. This is the world’s largest vessel designed for the skimming task, can supposedly picked up in excess of 20,000,000 gallons of oil stained water each day.

However, the appalling weather caused by the passing hurricane hampered the operation making it only partially effective. Other skimming and barrage operations were out of service for a week due to the weather and choppy seas that Hurricane Alex (01L) produced.

More areas have been closed to fishing according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has expanded the area to cover a new north-westerly boundary off the coast of the State of Louisiana. This brings the total no-fishing zone to around 81,000 mi.² or third of all the federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Reaches Louisiana Coast‎ – April 30th, 2010

29.0N 88.9W

April 30th, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day

Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico - April 29th, 2010

Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico - April 29th, 2010

Oil Spill Detail (Radar Image)

Oil Spill Detail (Radar Image)

The massive oil spill pouring from a ruptured oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the coast of Louisiana, threatening an environmental catastrophe in the region.

The first fingers of oily sheen reached the mouth of the Mississippi River on Thursday evening local time, 24 hours ahead of previous estimates by the US Coast Guard.

Oil is escaping from the well at a rate of about 5,000 barrels a day, five times faster than previously estimated. At that rate, the volume of the leak will exceed Alaska’s 1989 Exxon Valdez accident by the third week of June, making it the worst U.S. oil spill.

As the sun began to set over the fragile wetlands surrounding the Mississippi, the oil was slipping into the South Pass of the river and already lapping at the shoreline in long black lines.

Although US government agencies and BP set up 100,000 feet of booms to protect coastal areas from the slick, rough seas sent five foot waves of oily water over the top of the booms into the river.

The oil slick is on its way to becoming America’s worst environmental disaster in decades, threatening hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife in one of the world’s richest marine environments.

Even before the spill neared the coast, wildlife experts said a toxic mix of chemicals was poisoning the waters of endangered marine life and fisheries, including one of only two breeding grounds world-wide for Atlantic blue-fin tuna.

Sediments in Lake Pontchartrain and Gulf of Mexico Near New Orleans, USA – February 7th, 2011

29.9N 90W

February 7th, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers, Sediments

USA - January 15th, 2011

Thick tan sediments and green algae are present in Lake Pontchartrain, just north of New Orleans, and spill from the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico.

The river itself appears as a tan line, meandering eastward through New Orleans and then southeastward across the wetlands area to a delta arm. The entire area is still recovering from the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Hurricane Alex (01L) South of Oil Spill – July 2nd, 2010

23.7N 94W

July 2nd, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day, Tropical Cyclones

Hurricane Alex (01L) - June 26th, 2010

Hurricane Alex (01L) - June 26th, 2010

Alex - Enhanced image

Alex - Enhanced image

Alex South of Oil Spill

Alex South of Oil Spill

Close-up of Oil Spill

Close-up of Oil Spill

The main image shows Alex (01L) on June 26th, when it was starting to become better organized and increase to hurricane strength over the Caribbean Sea. At that time, the system was reported to have winds of 65 mph (100 km/h).

One detail image shows the system in the lower reaches of the Gulf of Mexico, where it was feared that it would cause greater environmental damage by passing through the Deepwater Horizon oil spill area, best observed in the close-up. Fortunately, the system has stayed relatively clear of the site, although its approach did cause BP to delay plans to increase oil capture from the leak by a week. Tarballs from the spill as large as apples washed onshore around Grand Isle, as well as other parts of Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, from high storm tides created by the hurricane.

The system has now made landfall over Mexico and is weakening. Its remnants, visible in the animated imagery, are moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/hr), with maximum sustained winds near 30 mph (45 km/hr), with higher gusts. Estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 mb (29.53 inches).

Track of Hurricane 01L - July 1st, 2010 © Univ. of Wisconsin

Track of Hurricane 01L

The remnants of Alex are expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches across portions of northern and central Mexico. Isolated storm-total amounts of 20 inches are possible over the higher elevations of northeastern Mexico. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, especially in mountainous terrain.

The remnants of Alex are also expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches over portions of southern Texas, with isolated maximum storm-total amounts of around 12 inches. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods.

Oil Spreading Throughout the Gulf of Mexico, USA – May 17th, 2010 – UPDATE

29.0N 88.7W

May 17th, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day

Spread of Oil in Gulf of Mexico from April 26th to May 18th, 2010

Spread of Oil in Gulf of Mexico from April 26th to May 18th, 2010

Oil Spill seen from ISS - May 4th, 2010 - © NASA

Oil Spill seen from ISS - May 4th, 2010 - © NASA

The series of ASAR images in this animation show the spread of oil, originating from a deepwater oil well 5,000 feet (1,500 m) below the ocean surface, in the Gulf of Mexico over the last three weeks. The spill is threatening to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez leak off Alaska as the United States’ worst environmental disaster.

The oil spill began with an explosion and fire on April 20th and has been releasing between 5,000 to 100,000 barrels (210,000–4,200,000 US gallons; 790,000–16,000,000 litres) of crude oil per day, although the exact rate is part of an ongoing debate.

The resulting oil slick covers a surface area of at least 2,500 square miles (6,500 km2) according to estimates reported on May 3, 2010, with the exact size and location of the slick fluctuating from day to day depending on weather conditions, as one can observe from the animated imagery.

In addition, on May 15 researchers announced the discovery of immense underwater plumes of oil not visible from the surface, one of which is 10 miles (16km) long and a mile wide. Researchers from the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology said they had detected the slicks lurking just beneath the surface of the sea and at depths of 4,000ft (1,200m).

The US has said the success of a move by oil giant BP to curb a leak in the Gulf of Mexico is “not clear” and the technique provides “no solution”, in response to BP’s move to siphon oil from the leaking well head to a tanker on the surface.

This was the third attempt it had made to insert a long narrow tube into the leaking pipe, using underwater robots. It is thought that BP’s 6in-wide (15cm) tube and stopper could capture more than three-quarters of the leak, although a smaller spill nearby also has to be contained.

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