18 June 2010

deepwater horizon oil catastrophe: oil rain possibly debunked

last night we ran across a cbs news report "will hurricanes help gulf oil spill clean-up?" the scientists that they interviewed are sure that, scientifically, oil cannot get into the rain; if so, its great news; we hope they're right!

cbs gave dr. kristen corbosiero, ucla assistant professor of atmospheric sciences, a short quote "the oil does not get into rainfall. it would not rain oil." unfortunately, they didnt allow her to explain why and didnt explain why elsewhere in the article.

so we emailed her, told her we live about 200 miles north of new orleans more in the center of the state and how the report had left out the reason why and to please tell us why.

this morning dr. corbosiero replied with a little better detail:


For oil to become part of the Earth's water cycle (evaporation from the oceans, condensation to form clouds and then precipitation) it would have to evaporate and condense at close to the same temperatures as water does. Oil does not do this; only water. Thus, water may leave the surface of the gulf, but not the oil; it will remain behind.

Thank you for your question.

Kristen L. Corbosiero, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
University of California, Los Angeles
Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
the 1979 hurricane that went through a 140 million gallon oil spill mentioned in the news report was possibly hurricane henri. if you know for sure please let us know.
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