Georgia Scientists Embarrass the Scientific Community

I readily admit I am out of my league on this one, but it appears a group at UGA has published a report on . . . wait for it . . . the impact of the Deep Horizon oil spill and its impact on the metro Atlanta area, as well as the Atlantic coastline of Georgia.

From the report:

Questions have been raised by the state’s scientific community about the vulnerability of communities living downwind of the Gulf of Mexico, including the Atlanta metropolitan area.

My friend Steve over at RedState put this on my radar. He is actually an expert on this stuff, so much so that he was summoned to Congress to testify on the issue.

He says the Georgia scientists do not account for the amount of oil that was documented to have been captured so their number is higher and underestimates the evaporate rate of light crude oil. Likewise, and his biggest point, is that the Georgia guys are raising a stink about any oil particles in the water, no matter how diluted, when scientists not trying to generate funding for their programs (my words, not his) readily note around one million barrels of crude oil seep into the Gulf of Mexico naturally each year.

32 comments

  1. griftdrift says:

    Scientists trying to generate funding. Just had to insert that didn’t you Erick. Instead of having an honest debate about the report and the evidence, attack the alleged, heck, you can’t even call it alleged because an allegation presumes at least the flimsiest of evidence, motives of the scientists.

    It’s a common refrain I’ve heard before – scientists are really in it for the money so you can’t really trust anything they say.

    Your casual dishonesty disgusts me.

    • Chris says:

      s/scientists/bloggers/g

      Sadly, I’ve yet to find the money in this. Bill Simon apparently has though.

  2. Jace Walden says:

    If by “Scientific Community”, you mean “My Buddy from RedState”…then, yeah, Georgia scientists probably embarrassed the scientific community.

    No logical human being can tell me with a straight face that if we pump 5,00o barrels of oil per day into an ecosystem for 50+ days, that there will be no ill effects. That’s the biggest crock of sh!t I’ve ever read.

    Erick, you probably need to let your “expert” buddy from RedState know that the big Ocean has these things called “currents”, and those “currents” carry water from on place to another.

    One of those currents is called the “Gulf Stream”. And get this, it carries water from the Gulf of Mexico and the Carribean up along the entire Atlantic Coast (including, *gasp*, Georgia) and into the British Isles.

    Tell your friend that he is an embarrasment to anyone with a shred of common sense.

    Thanks,

    Jace

  3. ACCmoderate says:

    The increased presence of oil droplets AND chemical dispersants into these areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon spill present a threat to the underwater ecosystems.

    While 1 million barrels of oil may naturally seep into the Gulf annually, that’s quite a miniscule number when you take into account how big the Gulf actually is. In areas where there is an increased amount of oil seepage, ecosystems have evolved that are suited for that unique environment.

    When you release a large amount of oil into an area that isn’t used to having that much oil around, then you run the risk of damaging the delicate balance that is an ecosystem. The destructing of a microbial or plankton species can spell doom for the fish that feed off of it and that will ripple on up the food chain.

    This group includes Dr. Samantha Joye, the UGA scientist that discovered and proved the existence of underwater plumes of oil. I hardly think that its a bunch of hacks out to pad their research budget.

    In regards to metro Atlanta, the group is attempting to study the affects of evaporated oil on the air quality of downwind communities. I think its pertinent research, I’d certainly like to know if the BP spill has caused any ill-effects to the air I breathe.

    Erick, I know that facts are often a trivial matter for you… but please quit highlighting your ignorance.

    By the way, my buddy Steve… who is a total expert on all these things… says that you’re a total douche.

  4. Provocateur says:

    Someone want to explain to me how oil (light crude or not) “evaporates” in a normal atmospheric pressure and temperature environment?

    • drjay says:

      if it’s a liquid it has a vapor pressure and will evaporate to some degree just like any other liquid–to what degree i do not know and i am a uga grad so i suppose my knowledge of chem and physics should be considered suspect…

    • jm says:

      Some of it breaks down, and the lighter a molecule is, the easier it is to get bumped by air molecules and lifted into the air. The hotter it is, the more likely to evaporate, because the molecules are all moving faster, knocking into each other, separating the molecules from each other and lifting the oil molecules into the air. So the hot Gulf of Mexico – favorable conditions for evaporation.
      Remember this – when you smell things, aromas for example, you are smelling the vapor – the gaseous component. The molecules in the air are the ones reaching your nose. Open up a bottle of olive oil – you can smell it. That’s the olive oil molecules that have left the bottle as a gas. If you heat it on the stove – it’ll smell stronger, because you’re putting more of those molecules in the air. The Gulf of Mexico – one awesomely big skillet, so a lot of that oil on the water’s surface is going to end up in the air.

  5. Blog Goliard says:

    Your takeaway here should simply be that nobody really knows anything yet.

    Heck, researchers are still debating the true impact of the Exxon Valdez spill. More than 20 years later, well-credentialed people are still coming to very different conclusions.

    It’s going to take a lot of time and research. In the meantime, nobody really knows anything.

  6. jm says:

    Erick – you readily admit that you are out of your league…and then ignore the facts and make up your own. OK, I’ll bite. Did you actually read and understand a single word in the report?

    First, they are using grant money to try to figure out how much oil is left and it’s impact in general. That’s important because the oil could travel out the Gulf, and up the coast. There is also a question of where did the oil go, what byproducts are there, will microscopic oil end up accumulating in organisms like fish that are higher up the food chain (do a quick read up on DDT for an example), and will the oil end up in our food supply?

    The report mentions Atlanta one time. The report overall is not about the impact on the Atlanta metropolitan area, but merely raises the question of whether a study should be performed. The report states exactly this:

    “Questions have been raised by the state’s scientific community about the vulnerability of communities living downwind of the Gulf of Mexico, including the Atlanta metropolitan area. An atmospheric sampling program designed to measure concentrations of oil components in the air would help determine how much has evaporated as well as track its dispersion and movement throughout the region and. This study is critically needed.”

    Only an idiot would think that oil that used to be in the ocean, but got evaporated into the air, wouldn’t have an impact on air quality, and that we shouldn’t try to find out what that impact is. You’re not an idiot, are you, Erick?

  7. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    There are a couple of UGA facilities around here on the coast. But I haven’t seen any oil wells or any that leaks. So where did the UGA biologist get their vast knowledge of this? 45 days isn’t the norm for researching fish poop thoroughly. It takes millions of dollars and time to research fish poop.

    How did they make this leap that fast?

  8. Junius says:

    It becomes increasingly clear that, in his bid to live the dream of spinning into the Golden Mic, Erick is willing to drink the Bircher kool-aid on EVERY issue. Check on the current lead story on the ‘lib Wall Street Journal.

  9. iLarynx says:

    Today’s Wall Street Journal:

    But for 10 days in June, Dr. Camilli and his colleagues aboard a U.S. National Science Foundation research vessel called the Endeavor systematically explored the plume—22 miles long and more than a mile wide—as it snaked along 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf. All told, they made 57,000 measurements, mainly using sensors aboard a remote-controlled robot deployed from the ship.

    Reporting their preliminary findings Thursday, they confirmed that oil from the well had been caught below the surface of the Gulf in pools of microscopic oil drops and petroleum-based trace chemicals, which were degrading more slowly than many had expected. In its essence, this plume resembled a mist of trace chemicals largely invisible to the eye, rather than a river of oil.
    […]
    Their new findings add to evidence from several other independent research groups this week that the offshore spill—the largest in history—is confounding expectations about the behavior of oil and water.

    By confirming the existence of this submerged plume, the new data also challenge government estimates that the vast majority of the 4.9 million barrels of spilled oil is already gone from the Gulf or being rapidly broken down by bacteria, several marine experts said.
    […]
    Environmental scientist Edward Overton at Louisiana State University, an expert on the impact of marine oil spills, was surprised the researchers did not find more signs that bacteria had been breaking down the oil. “I really thought a lot more of the oil had degraded than they seem to think. I’m not sure who’s right,” he said. “We still have a ways to go before we really understand the impact of this spill.”

    But Erick and his Trike Force “expert” already have a complete and thorough understanding, don’t they? Case closed.

    • Provocateur says:

      JM gave a very fine presentation on how oil might “evaporate” in the Gulf.

      However, it can only evaporate if it is on the surface and exposed to the air. If it is trapped below the surface in a river of microscopic oil droplets, there isn’t much chance of evaporation occurring, is there?

      • jm says:

        Correct – The whole system is very dynamic. What I’m reading is that dispersants are sending the stuff to the bottom, but a lot of that breaks free and heads back to the surface, where it can evaporate. But underwater, it doesn’t evaporate – but much of it is lighter than water, and tends to move up. Anyway, I was surprised at the estimates of how much actually evaporated vs. how little was skimmed. You can read the White House briefing about it: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/press-briefing-press-secretary-robert-gibbs-admiral-thad-allen-carol-browner-and-dr
        I don’t much stock in Dr. Lubchenco’s numbers, but it’s better than listening to BP.


        DR. LUBCHENCO (NOAA Administrator): Okay, Vanna. (Laughter.) About a quarter of the oil has been evaporated or dissolved. This is about 1.2 million barrels. That happens naturally. That’s a natural process. And much of that happened as the oil was being released day to day.

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