Contrary to what the media is telling you, a report from the Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia released yesterday says that a whopping 79% of the oil from the Gulf oil spill still remains in the waters there. The report concludes that the media is way off in their estimates — they are saying that a mere 25% of the oil remains — and that the effects of this spill will be following us for decades while the oil slowly dissipates. The report notes that the large plumes of oil present deep underneath the surface of the Gulf are most likely still present and perhaps will be for years to come.

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One major misconception is that oil that has dissolved into water is gone and, therefore, harmless,” said Charles Hopkinson, director of Georgia Sea Grant and professor of marine sciences in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “The oil is still out there, and it will likely take years to completely degrade. We are still far from a complete understanding of what its impacts are.” The five prominent marine scientists involved in writing the recent report used information from the Aug. 2 National Incident Command Report, which the news media has also used to create their much lower percentage.

The Aug. 2 National Incident Command Report has been widely misunderstood and the marine scientists involved in writing it used a series of calculations based on reasonable evaporation and degradation estimates to come up with their estimate of 79%. One positive part of this recent report is that the marine scientists involved discovered that a current called the Franklin Eddy is preventing the Loop Current from dragging oil into the waters of the Atlantic. So though the oil won’t be spreading to other oceans any time soon, it also won’t be disappearing from the Gulf. Though we were all enamored with the idea that perhaps most of the oil has dissipated, the sad truth is that it’s mostly still there. This catastrophe will be with us for years to come.

+ Read the report here