At this point, we all know that BP’s 5,000 barrel-a-day estimate is laughable, as are their claims that they can't measure the rate that the oil is gushing into the Gulf.
Over the weekend, four scientists, Ian MacDonald, John Amos, Timothy Crone and Steve Wereley wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that provides a new estimate of the oil spill’s flow rate.
BP has claimed that it would be impossible to use their video clip of the broken pipe to analyze the rate of oil flow. These scientists have shown that claim to be blatantly false. Using computational methods to analyze the video, the scientists’ estimates showed median values of 60,000 to 75,000 barrels per day spilling into the Gulf.
Taking many scientific variables into account, the scientists’ preliminary estimates indicate that at least 40,000 barrels of oil are pouring in to the Gulf per day and it could be as much as 100,000 barrels.
By their minimum estimate of 40,000 barrels, the Gulf spill is more than five times the size of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. By their maximum estimate, the Gulf spill is more than 13 times the size of Exxon Valdez.
And it’s still flowing. BP has now released a live video feed of the spill on the ocean floor.
It’s absurd that BP and the government have not taken the necessary steps to measure the size of the spill. As these scientists indicate, it is not only possible, but essential -- for cleanup efforts now and in the future.
“No surgeon in an operating room would neglect an unvarnished assessment of a bleeding patient,” the scientists write. “In this disaster, an accurate measurement of the oil spill is no less important.”