Tiny┬áSkytruth[1]┬áhave been challenging BP’s estimates on how much crude is spilling out of the Macondo well into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The organisation began analysing satellite & radar data soon after the Deepwater Horizon rig sank on April 22nd. BP initially claimed 1,000 barrels were spilling daily – after Skytruth pointed out that this was a ridiculous underestimate, the company revised the daily rate to 5,000 barrels. Since then, Skytruth have made clear that this is still far lower than the reality, with even 25,000 barrels a day a “rock bottom” figure.

SkyTruth first analyzed satellite and radar data on the spill shortly after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank after a fire April 22. It challenged initial estimates that 1,000 barrels of oil were gushing daily from the wellhead nearly a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. Federal officials and BP quickly revised the estimated daily rate to 5,000 barrels.

[2]

Working out of a West Virginia office[3], the organisation’s one paid employee and number of volunteers use downloaded satellite imagery from NASA to calcultate the depth of oil & its spread. They then apply standard extrapolation methods from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to calculate the total oil volume.

Endnotes:
  1. Skytruth: http://www.skytruth.org/
  2. [Image]: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_edvxM1dkFlo/S9dregQoFyI/AAAAAAAAAaw/CXeos_rpC-U/s1600/SkyTruth_dhrig_spill-modis-27apr10-terra-interp.jpg
  3. Working out of a West Virginia office: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-measure-20100502,0,1279704.story