Here is a very interesting Nature article from 2008 on the issue of oil spills.
I'm always interested in reading these from the perspective of prediction. Prediction accuracy is a very real issue to all of us as I'm sure we can all agree.
FWIW, I had no idea 160,000 tons of hydrocarbons were released from the sea floor annually. It does make sense.
"That is more than 53 times the total for offshore extraction and about 4.5 times as much petroleum as was released when the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground in Alaska in 1989. That said, the natural sources are far more diffuse and thus not necessarily as disruptive as concentrated slicks."
Here are also some images from NASA's JPL satellites. They estimate the current spill releases 5000 barrels/day though I have read reports the number may be much higher.
... FWIW, I never know what to think when I read such reports since I absolutely know such reports can be true and at the same time I also absolutely know the news media makes a living off hype. That old prediction thingy keeps rearing its head.
Also, if you too were having the same conversion troubles I had, 1 metric ton is 7.2 barrels so a 5000 barrel/day spill is approx 694 oil-tons/day.
Finally, here is today's Nature article on the impact.
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