By JE Sved on June 21, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC (Herald de Paris) - So much of the handling of this BP Oil Disaster (a name for this mess we are advocating as it does not downgrade the situation, since IT’S NOT A SPILL) has been left to BP, out of the hands of the international science community and away from US federal agencies, I thought I might remind you all of what might happen if this hemorrhaging of crude oil is allowed to continue much longer:¬† Think Gulf Stream.
Called “The North Atlantic Drift” in Europe, the Gulf Stream is perhaps the most influential current on our planet.¬† It is responsible for the movement of warm, equatorial waters up the East coast of the United States, bringing with it an abundance of sea life that – right or wrong – is responsible for a substantial portion of the US seafood industry.
More importantly, the Gulf Stream crosses the Atlantic Ocean diagonally, and is responsible for making the waters of the Scandinavian countries navigable all year round, thus affecting shipping of goods and products around the world.¬† In fact, the winds blowing over the warmer Gulf Stream is the primary reason places like London and Paris don’t get colder, in the winters.
The warm Gulf Stream waters come off the equator and South America, hugging the coastline of Central America to the Yucatan Peninsula.¬† Some of the waters move directly Northward along the Eastern Caribbean, but others enter the Gulf of Mexico before being carried through the Caribbean Sea, where it rejoins the rest of the Gulf Stream heading Northward.
Ultimately, BP’s escaped crude oil will be carried right into the Gulf Stream.
Here’s where it gets hairy.¬† Some of the Gulf Stream waters move directly Eastward towards the Western Coast of Africa, where subtropical recirculation sends it right back to the Brazilian coast of South America, back up the coast, and right back into the Gulf of Mexico.¬† And if it isn’t bad enough that, like a boomerang, some of this crude oil will end up right back where it first shot out of the deep source below the Gulf, what happens to the rest of it is even more concerning.
The crude oil that will be carried by the Northward fork of the Gulf Stream will cross the Atlantic and eventually cause ecological and aquatic food chain issues.¬† That’s right, BP tar balls will eventually wash ashore in the United Kingdom (kind of fitting), France, Spain, Portugal, and the Scandinavian countries.
Now, here’s where it gets fun (sarcasm).¬† Some of the North Atlantic tar balls will never make it to the European coast.¬†¬† They will cross the Atlantic again and migrate back down the North American coast to places like Canada, Maine, and the other US coastal states that missed it the first time.¬† And if all this isn’t enough to make you take notice, some of the crude oil (and dispersant) will become trapped in the North Atlantic Gyre.¬† Yep, the same plastic garbage vortex that birds and fish and marine mammals die from nibbling on will soon also be coated in BP’s oily and toxic soup.
In all, by being too cheap to invest US$1 Million in the mandated safety equipment, BP will instead be depositing toxic tar balls on the coasts of four continents, and altering the futures of fish, marine mammals, and waterfowl over 1/3 of our planet.¬† The only possible bright spot in the entire situation may well be that because of the oceanic currents, the last remaining pristine and thriving coral reefs in the world, in the Western Caribbean, might actually be passed by and spared.
Therefore, I urge the governments on all four continents to join in affecting a solution to this disaster, and for the US government¬† to work unilaterally with all the potentially affected nations.¬† The stakes are too high to leave this up to BP to handle properly, and it is not solely an American problem.