Thursday, July 29, 2010

Anatomy of an Oil Spill, part II

Ok, so on Monday, July 26, 2010 we went back up over the Gulf and pretty much followed the same flight path.  The difference in just 3 days was very dramatic....on surface level there was a fraction of the stuff we saw on Friday.  I was truly shocked at the difference.  I am not sure what is going on with the oil, I believe it's sinking and in some cases was visibly floating below the surface but it's very, very hard to distinguish exactly what you're looking at when you're out there.

Having said that, in this post I am going to just publish the pix I took and provide some conjecture and some fact below them...I will do my best to differentiate between the two.  I have a panoptic post I want to make after I publish these photos, but I want to save it until after I get these up for your viewing pleasure...or horror....whichever sentiment you're inclined to.

On this flight I took a still camera up instead of a video camera.  The stills provide much better definition and I was able to zoom a lot closer to specific objects.  Camera is a Nikon D50.

The first shot is from an area just to the east of Cocodrie:

The Yellow Arrows note actual oil in the water, the white arrrows note oil which has actually soiled the land mass.  You can see where the water washed over this land mass and receded, leaving oil stains.  Note that Cocodrie is pretty far inland.

Racoon Island:  This water had a distinct sheen you may be able to notice on the left side of the pitcure.
Racoon Island:  Failed Boom
Racoon Island:  Still a very large amount of birds on this island as opposed to neighboring Islands.
Racoon Island:  Brown Pelicans in flight.

Racoon Island: I am not sure if the discoloration in this picture is representative of oil but the white arrows clearly show signs of the dispersant.  This phenomenon was noticed all through the Gulf.  These color changes were always marked with dispersant floating directly above them.  I will expound on this later.

We passed over another Island just East of Racoon:

These are bags of contaminated sand that workers had gathered on this Island.  I still think the human presence on the neighboring islands drove the birds to settle on Racoon.
We then made our way out to the source.  The difference in oil on the surface was dramatically less apparent than last Friday.  I really can't stress this was like a different ocean.

Here is your gratuitous spill site porn for all the engineers and geeks.

A wide shot of "The Source" as it is called on the airwaves of air traffic control.
Enterprise Explorer
Enterprise Explorer dead on.
Tight shot of Enterprise Explorer's deck for engineering geeks.
TransOcean rig tight shot.
TransOcean rig wider shot.
This boat is the Gulf Fleet's Monica Ann.  I was told that Edison Chouest did in fact get a contract to spread dispersant at the source but I am not totally sure if this is Corexit 9500 or some variant, or if it's something else.  I do not think it is prop wash because these boats were shooting this stuff out the sides, I have multiple pictures of it. 

On our way back towards the MS. coast, I was looking at these massive dark plumes right beneath the ocean surface.  I was going back and forth with Bonnie on whether or not these dark masses were oil or something else.  I can't help but think it had to be oil plumes because we were in very deep water.  I've flown out over the Gulf numerous times to shoot videos on rigs and I never, ever saw anything that looked liked this.  I can buy the arguments that black masses near the shore are seaweed or ocean floor discoloration, but we were off the shelf and in very, very deep water.  There was cloud cover but these plumes extended pass the obvious cloud cover.  I have to believe that these dark masses were massive oil plumes which were floating below the surface.  They covered a huge area all the way into the coast.

These discolored patches were much different than the Friday trip.  They have now broken up into massive splotches as opposed to constant lines which run to the shoreline.
The "plumes" always seem to have the brown dispersant lines directly above them.
Here you can see the dispersant clouds are clumping closer together.  What I believe is happening is that the dispersant is degrading the oil under the surface and these brown "clouds" are then floating to the top and dissipating.
These type of brown dipsersant clusters dissolve very can actually watch them break apart.
This is one of the "splotches" or "plumes" which is massive in size, half mile to over a mile in some cases.
It's hard to see the color differences so I used the white arrows as a reference in this photo.  This is in very, very deep water right next to the source.
This is the same picture as above but I altered the contrast and shadowing to accentuate the color differences.  Imagine you are looking down on the Gulf and there are splotches of dark areas miles wide and long....this is what it looked like.
This is closer in shore and obviously in shallower waters but that color change is marked by floating dispersant right above it running in tandem with line between dark green and light green.

This is right above Ship Island off the MS. shoreline.  Please blow this picture up and look at it closely because what your're looking at is ABSOLUTEY oil plumes and you will see it in detail in the following photos.

Once we got to the Mississippi coast we circled Cat and Ship Islands.  There was clearly oil encroaching on the islands and into the Ocean Springs/Gulfport coastline....dont' let anyone tell you it's not is there.

This is the east end of Ship Island.  I can't say for certain that the discoloration is oil but notice the black stuff on the beach, I don't think that's seaweed but I could be wrong.
Ok...this shot is looking SouthEast at ship Island.  Some of the dark black areas are just pockets of seaweed on the ocean floor but the arrows that I made are large trails of brownish oil streaks running horizontally.  I will show you closer shots in a second.
Same angle as above.
That's an oil streak running over a dark splotch on the ocean floor.  Keep in mind that we are very close to the MS. shoreline and this stuff was running right into it.  There are people swimming on those beaches.  Ship Island looked to be closed but the MS. shoreline beaches are open and populated.
This is a closer shot of the same streaks between Cat Island and Ship Island.  You can't tell me that is  discoloration on the ocean floor....sorry dude.
A higher shot lookingback towards the MS shoreline
That's Cat Island on the left side of the frame
Pretty sure that is Cat Island on left but it may be Ship Island
Little blurry...sorry...but a tighter shot of one of the streaks next to Cat Island.
Very wide shot looking back towards MS shoreline.  Blow it up and look at the striations and discoloration in the background.  I don't know what the striations are, but the dark stuff in the background is the same stuff you are looking at above.
Cat Island and a nasty oil streak

One of the most harrowing things I saw was on our approach back to Lakefront Aiport, I couldn't believe how far the oil had encroached on was in the south end of Pontchartrain and had covered Lake Borgne.

Lake was everywhere.
This is the pass between Borgne and Pontchartrain.  The boats off to the left are skimming.  It has clearly worked it's way into Pontchartrain and from what I can tell stops right below the Twin Span to Slidell....I guess it's now the Quad Span.
This is a little bit further west...I put this shot here to add perspective.  You can see the Twin Span and Pontchartrain in the top left.

Ok...I am going to stop here and I have a summary post I want to make on exactly what I think is happening with the spill.  Right now I'm exhausted as this stuff takes an enormous amount of time to prepare and post....and it's not nearly as much fun as the sneaky snake countdown stuff.

Suffice to say the MSM reports that the oil is gone are utter bullshit and propaganda....nothing is "gone".

AND HEY!!!!!   I hate to beg, but any donations would be greatly appreciated as I will redirect them directly to Bonnie and her non-profit, "On Wings of Care".  She is donating all her time to do this and I would like to help get her as much money as possible for her gas and plane maintenance bills.

Thanks all.

CORRECTION:  The Monica Ann is a Gulf Fleet boat, not Edison Chouest.


Anonymous said...

Hi, great pics. I have no doubt most of them are oil. But also I think some discoloration (particularly the grayish clay-looking stuff) is just the outflow from the Mississippi River sediment.,-88.997498&spn=0.853835,1.683655&t=h&z=10

rcs said...

Apparently sunlight and microbial action is doing a lot of the work of breaking up the oil.

Had you ever been out over the GOM before the spill?

Jason Brad Berry said...

yes I have been out many times...I stated that in the post.

Jason Brad Berry said...

I know the difference between sediment run off and oil. The only pix where that may be true are near Pontchartrain.

Anonymous said...

Thank you again.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the dispersant update. I was led to believe that they had stopped using dispersant completely.

I guess they flashed on to the fact that spraying dispersant aerially around the ships and rigs is not a good idea. Heh.

I really appreciate these posts. Getting accurate information is difficult.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you've never flown over these waters before. Most of your pictures show simple water color changes as a result of currents. The "clumps" of oil you are seeing forming in lines is actually sargassum, a.k.a., the rip. Depending on the day, the rip forms between the Gulf Stream and other Gulf currents, even sometimes buttressing against the Mississippi water.

I am anti-Big Oil anti BP anti offshore drilling, so I say this as kindly as possible. When you post information about which you know little, you discredit the cause.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Fisherman are confirming there is oil in the areas I displayed around Cat Island and Ship Island. In regard to the deeper shots and discolorations, i clearly stated I did not know if it is or isn't oil, and current changes and "the rip" don't splotch like a Pollock painting. You don't have current changes in circular patterns for a 60 mile stretch.

I clearly saw the difference from Friday to Monday in the amount of sheen and discoloration on the had greatly dissipated in the 3 day period.

And once again, I have been over the gulf many times, what I was seeing was not characteristic of anything I've seen before.

an NBC crew went up the next day and confirmed the same areas I shot these pix in

Believe what you want to....I know what I saw and I clearly saw the dramatic difference in that 3 day period.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the internet, any hack can post some crap and people will leech onto it like sheep. Nice job buddy you should work for FEMA.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Hack on that shit for brains.

judyb said...

Thanks for the pictures and for keeping this up front.

You don't have to defend anything to morons that don't have the balls to post usernames and hide under anomymous.

Anonymous said...

You make no point my son can get an image and make it look like whatever you want. Skytruth is just another BLOG site like this shit. Get a life man. Put your time into something usefull like feeding starving kids or something because you have no clue what the hell your talking about.

Anonymous said...

Posting my name will not change any thing, the fact is this guy is a hack and knows shit about what he is claming.

Anonymous said...

Some of your pictures show oil, but some show sargassum and current change. It's posting pictures of naturally occurring things and claiming they are oil that discredits both you and those of us who are fighting the oil.

Getting half of your stuff right means you're all wrong. There's no room for error -- didn't you learn from BP?

Evo said...

I think that your post clearly states your thoughts and intentions. There is always some drone or shill ready to try and discredit. Seems it should be up to "him/her" to provide proof of their claims, just as you have of yours. Derka, derka.

Jason Brad Berry said...

And thank you for pointing that out Evo, as I clearly stated that in the opening paragraph. It's funny how they fail to acknowledge counterpoints, like there are skimming boats in the pictures where I said unequivocally that there is oil. That just seems to be too inconvenient to acknowledge.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't look good

ben m said...

In the picture of the "monica ann", thats defiantly prop wash, from her stern thrusters, since she is probably sitting in one place on DP. Not to mention it looks exactly like PROP WASH.

Jason Brad Berry said...

I don't doubt that it's prop wash my question then, as it is now, is what is in the white canisters On the deck of the boat and if it is dispersant were they using the prop wash to spread it.