"On the Surface, Gulf Oil Spill Is Vanishing Fast; Concerns Stay"

"The oil  slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The immense patches of surface oil that covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the April 20 oil rig explosion are largely gone, though sightings of tar balls and emulsified oil continue here and there.

Reporters flying over the area Sunday spotted only a few patches of sheen and an occasional streak of thicker oil, and radar images taken since then suggest that these few remaining patches are quickly breaking down in the warm surface waters of the gulf.

John Amos, president of SkyTruth, an environmental advocacy group that sharply criticized the early, low estimates of the size of the BP leak, noted that no oil had gushed from the well for nearly two weeks.

'Oil has a finite life span at the surface,' Mr. Amos said Tuesday, after examining fresh radar images of the slick. 'At this point, that oil slick is really starting to dissipate pretty rapidly.'"

Justin Gillis and Campbell Robertson report for the New York Times July 27, 2010.


"Oil in Gulf Is Degrading, Becoming Harder To Find, NOAA Head Says" (Washington Post)

"Gulf Flow Has Stopped, But Where's the Oil?" (Associated Press)

Source: NYTimes, 07/28/2010