What If? Gulf-Size Spill in Our Bay

Spill would include nearly entire bay watershed miles out to the Pacific

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Paul Rademacher / Google
    A spill the size of the current on in the Gulf would be the worst disaster in the Bay Area's history if it had happened here.

    The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that's still spreading would easily cover the entire San Francisco Bay and beyond had it happened here.

    While the Bay Area is no strangers to oil and fuel slicks killing wildlife, fouling waterways and spoiling beaches, a map illustrating the size of the spill in relation to the region puts the the scale of the Gulf tragedy in sad perspective.

    Google engineer Paul Rademacher has built a Google Earth tool that allows users to compare the area of the spill to major metropolitan areas around the world.

    Gulf Oil Spill Update: HD Imagery and Projected Path

    [BAY] Gulf Oil Spill Update:  HD Imagery and Projected Path
    From NBC Bay Area's Rob Mayeda: Gusty winds and rough surf pushed the oil slick over some retention booms and sloshed some areas of light crude on wetlands areas in Louisiana. The majority of the heavier crude products (see map) remain offshore, with lighter crude (showing up well in the HD imagery as the lighter colored areas) nearing the LA, MS, AL coastline. Here is a summary of the efforts to attempt to contain the spill boundary from NOAA:Engineers are working to inject dispersants at the oil?s source - 5000? below the surface. If successful, it could reduce or prevent an oil plume from forming at the surface. Drilling of a relief or cut-off well started today, but it will take several months to stop the flow. Work also continues on a collection dome at the sea floor; this technique has never been tried at 5000?. Very high winds and rough seas curtailed surface operations, such as skimming and applying dispersant by aircraft. Hundreds of thousands of feet of boom have been deployed to contain the spill, with hundreds of thousands more staged and ready to be deployed.NOAA efforts have included: modeling the trajectory and extent of the oil, getting pre-impact samples surveys and baseline measurements, planning for open water and shoreline remediation, supporting the Unified Command as it analyzes new techniques for handling the spill and starting Natural Resource Damage Assessments (NRDA). * NOAA?s National Weather Service displayed radar data at central command today so the command could see where thunderstorm activity was moving and receive warnings immediately. * A forecast decrease in winds should allow the full spectrum of surface operations starting tomorrow. NOAA?s Emergency Response Division (ERD) creates the oil trajectories that response planners rely on. * The Coast Guard is using forecasts and graphics of oil movement prepared by NOAA?s Emergency Response Division (ERD) and Marine Charting Division to keep mariners out of oil areas by depicting them on electronic charts. * NOAA?s Assessment and Restoration Division (ARD) completed additional baseline sampling in Gulf Islands National Seashore in conjunction with NOAA Restoration Center, National Park Service and Florida Department of Environmental Protection staff. * Natural resource economists from ARD also drafted plans to systematically survey recreational users along the Gulf Coast about their use of areas affected by the spill.

    It helps the scope of the disaster hit home -- had it happened here, it would have been the worst disaster in the region's history, dwarfing any earthquake.

    The spill is still growing and spreading east, with BP's efforts to contain it so far proving futile.

    Silicon Valley's Role in the Gulf Oil Cleanup

    [BAY] Silicon Valley's Role in the Gulf Oil Cleanup
    Scientists using Codar radar technology can map where the currents in the Gulf of Mexico are pushing the oil gushing from an exploded rig.

    Thankfully for our region, the likelihood of a similar spill happening here are slim, especially since Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reconsidered his former support for offshore drilling in California.

    But that it happened anywhere is still an immeasurable tragedy.

    Jackson West wants to cry just thinking about it.