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Getting Under the Surface

The Different Appearances of Oil in June 7 NASA Satellite Image. Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response/Holli Riebeek
The Different Appearances of Oil in June 7 NASA Satellite Image. Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response/Holli Riebeek

With many questions still unanswered about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Earth Institute staff  have been providing perspective to the public and press on many aspects, from the spill’s magnitude and spread, to the technologies available to abate it, and its long-term policy implications.  Marine geophysicist Tim Crone was one of the first to openly question official estimates of the oil’s rate of flow (first on NPR, then in a New York Times op-ed)–and those estimates have since climbed accordingly. Then, writing for, deep-sea oceanographer Andreas Thurnherr helped introduce the grim idea that the oil could be spreading not just on the surface, but in difficult-to-track undersea plumes–a scenario now also confirmed. Proposals for halting the flow have gone all the way to planting a nuclear bomb on the seafloor–an idea discussed (and savaged) by oil geophysicist Roger N. Anderson, with public radio host Leonard Lopate.  As Earth Institute executive director Steve Cohen told a BBC reporter: “Probably [this] will go down in history as the worst environmental disaster that America has ever had.” Beyond the glare of media, many Earth Institute scientists now are starting up research projects to measure the spill and its effects, and they expect to be in the Gulf during coming months. Stay tuned.

Read our press advisory on Earth Institute oil spill experts.

Below, some media featuring perspectives from the Earth Institute. (Updated frequently.)

Low Oil Spill Estimates Rested on ‘Untested Assumptions’ USA Today, Oct. 6, 2010

New Gulf Spill Oil Flow Estimate Released  PBS Newshour, Sept. 23, 2010

Gulf Spill Volume Estimated From Video BBC, Sept. 23, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill: Study Suggest U.S. Estimate Was About Right  Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 23, 2010

Gulf Spill May Have Been Bigger Than Feds Estimated  Science News, Sept. 23, 2010

Degraded Oil From BP Spill Coats Seafloor  LiveScience, Sept. 21, 2010

Needed: Real Discussion of the Impact of Regulating Offshore Drilling  (by Steve Cohen) Huffington Post, Aug. 17, 2010

Where’s the Oil? The New Yorker, July 28, 2010

Exploring the Geology of Gulf Oil NPR Talk of the Nation, July 23, 2010

The Gulf: What Should We Do Next? WHYY, July 22, 2010

The Long-Term Political Impact of the Oil Spill (by Steve Cohen) Huffington Post, July 19, 2010

How Will a Hurricane Affect the Gulf Oil Spill? Scientific American, July 15, 2010

BP Cap in Limbo Over Government Questions Associated Press, July 14, 2010

How a Rare Mix of Geology Created Riches, and Danger Washington Post, July 13, 2010

Six Lessons From the BP Oil Spill Christian Science Monitor, July 10, 2010

How to Kill a Well Science, July 2, 2010

Researchers Consider Impact of Hurricanes on Oil Spill The Record, June 24, 2010

The Oil Spill’s Worst-Case Scenario? Newsweek, June 23, 2010

The Gulf: Obama’s Bay of Pigs Moment (by Steve Cohen) Huffington Post, June 17, 2010

The Spill’s Impact on the Politics of Sustainability (by Steve Cohen) Huffington Post, June 14, 2010

Gulf Spill’s Environmental Impacts, in Three Dimensions Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2010

Feds May Have Low-Balled Oil-Spill Flow Rate NBC Nightly News, June 10, 2010

BP Pins Hopes on Relief Wells to Stop Gulf Spill Scientific American, June 9, 2010

Top 10 Unanswered Questions on the Oil Spill, June 9, 2010

The Spill, the Scandal and the President Rolling Stone, June 8, 2010

Can There Be Global Oil Spill Accountability? BBC/PRI’s The World, June 7, 2010

Dangers of Deep-Sea Oil Drilling Philadelphia Inquirer, June 7, 2010

Changing Obama’s Style Will Not Prevent the Next Catastrophe (by Steve Cohen) Huffington Post, June 7, 2010

What the Spill Will Kill Newsweek, June 6, 2010

Obama’s Crude Awakening (by Jeffrey D. Sachs) New York Daily News, June 6, 2010

One Oil Spill Solution: a Nuclear Bomb WNYC, June 3, 2010

The Spill as a Breach of Our National Security (by Steve Cohen) Huffington Post, June 1, 2010

Our Fix-It Faith and the Oil Spill New York Times, May 30, 2010

‘No Idea’ Where Deep Water Oil Is Drifting, May 28, 2010

Infrared Images Show Oil’s Vast Extent CBS Evening News, May 28, 2010

Move Resource Regulation Out of the Interior Dept. (by Steve Cohen) Huffington Post, May 27, 2010

Preventing the Next Environmental Catastrophe (by Steve Cohen) Huffington Post, May 24, 2010

The Measure of a Disaster New York Times op-ed, May 21, 2010

Gushing Oil Far Exceeds Estimates KPCC, May 17, 2010

The Spill and Effective Management of Regulation (by Steve Cohen) Huffington Post, May 14, 2010

Spill Could Be Far Worse Than Believed NPR All Things Considered, May 14, 2010

The Oil Spill Will Change the Politics of Energy and Environment (by Steve Cohen) Huffington Post, April 30, 2010

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Linda Perry Barr
Linda Perry Barr
14 years ago

Yes but how to stop the spill? Why is bp still in the picture?