Monday, May 17, 2010

The Sad, Sick Math of The Gulf Spill

Comrade E.B. Misfit delivers it:
Let's convert to feet and figure the volume of that plume. Rounding off a little, that is 52,800' x 15,800' x 300' = 250,272,000,000 cubic feet. There are 7.48 gallons in a cubic foot. If that plume were comprised of 100% oil, that would be 1,872,034,000,000 gallons of oil, or nearly two trillion gallons in that one plume.

Even if that plume were comprised of just 0.1% oil by volume, that would still mean that this oil spill is approaching two billion gallons of oil, which is over two hundred times more oil than the Exxon Valdez spill. And that volume of oil would assume that the plume contains all of the oil spilled, which it does not.
The only thing I would add is that this is one plume (albeit the largest observed, so far) of at least a few that have been identified. It does not include oil that may be still on the sea floor, nor oil on the surface. There also may be plumes that haven't been discovered and identified yet. BP is still resisting getting good data on the flow rate, saying that it is irrelevant to the problem at hand, getting the leak halted. Yeah, whatever.

1 comment:

Bob said...

I left a similar math comment on about three threads around the InterWebs, to no apparent cognizance.

I think people are overwhelmed by the magnitude and paralyzed by the inability of any of us to do anything about it (all the while watching TPTB flail about ineffectively).