© 2021 WLRN
MIAMI | SOUTH FLORIDA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News
In South Florida, where the Everglades meet the bays, environmental challenges abound. Sea level rise threatens homes and real estate. Invasive species imperil native plants and animals. Pesticides reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, but at what cost? WLRN's award-winning environment reporting strives to capture the color and complexity of human interaction with one of the most biodiverse areas of the planet.

Study: Florida Keys May Have Suffered From Deepwater Horizon Spill

screen_shot_2020-02-14_at_2.52.54_pm.png
McClatchy
/
An underwater camera captures oil leaking from the Deewater Horizon oil well.

Florida Keys residents may not have seen massive tar balls and fish kills after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but small concentrations of toxic crude were still reaching the islands and potentially harming marine life, as the extent of the deadly disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was worse than originally thought, according to a University of Miami study.

Nearly a decade after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history killed 11 people and dumped 200 million gallons of crude into the ocean, researchers found discrepancies in the satellite footprint that was used to establish fisheries closures and data from sampling and field tests. They concluded that the real extent of the BP oil spill may have been 30 percent larger than originally estimated. After methane seeped into the rig and triggered an explosion on April 20, 2010, oil gushed from a pipe more than 4,000 feet below the ocean’s surface for 87 days.

Looking at water and sediment measurements, oil transport models and satellite imagery, the team of researchers concluded that what appeared on the two-dimensional images provided by the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service — areas that were determined to be contaminated and closed off to fishing — didn’t match what in-site data was showing.

Read more from the Miami Herald here.