This time of year, the Gulf of Mexico experiences frequent and sometimes severe storms. Over the past few days, the wind has been blowing 20 knots steadily, with gusts up to 30 knots. The seas are up and we’ve been bounced around a lot.
The R/V Oceanus will depart Gulfport at 12AM on August 21. The science party consists of microbiologists, isotope geochemists, chemical ecologists, physical oceanographers, geologists, and biogeochemists from the University of Georgia (UGA), Georgia Institute of Technology, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), the University of California Santa Barbara, the University of Maryland, and the University of Southern Mississippi. We'll be conducting joint operations with the R/V Cape Hatteras, which will house scientists from the University of Texas, UGA, and LDEO.
The Deepwater Horizon wellhead that tapped the Macondo reservoir was capped on 15 July 2010. After the venting of oil and gas into the Gulf waters was stopped, everyone felt a sense of relief. Multiple news outlets have reported that the surface oil has disappeared, for the most part. I read many reports that stated conclusively the oil had been either transferred to the atmosphere (via evaporation) or that it had been consumed by oil-eating microorganisms. Everyone’s reaction was, not surprisingly, ‘what a relief !!’. Should we be relieved? Is this disaster over?