“Offshore drilling is not a fit for Florida”… It doesn’t have to fit in Florida.

Guest post by David Middleton

The gray area on the map below is basically off limits to oil & gas operations.  It’s right next to the Central Gulf of Mexico and its prolific oil & gas production… Kind of analogous to Prudhoe Bay and ANWR Area 1002.

From ETH in Zurich, this interesting essay on the last glacial period has some interesting points to ponder – Anthony

<p class="lead">The last glacial period was characterised by strong climatic fluctuations. Scientists have now been able to prove very frequent and rapid climate change, particularly at the end of the Younger Dryas period, around 12,000 years ago. These fluctuations were accompanied by rapid changes in circulation in the oceans and the atmosphere.</p>

Researchers are able to determine when glaciers were stable and when they melted by studying titanium content in glacial lake sediments. (Picture: siyublog/flickr)<!– (mehr Bilder) –>

</div> <p class="p">Sediment deposits in lakes are the climate archives of the past. An international team of researchers from Norway, Switzerland and Germany have now examined sediments originating from the Younger Dryas period from the Kråkenes Lake in northwest Norway. In the sediments, they found clues that point to a “climate flicker” at the end of the last glacial period, oscillating between colder and warmer phases until the transition to the stable climate of the Holocene, our current interglacial period. The short-term, strong fluctuations of the Younger Dryas would have dwarfed the “extreme weather phenomena” seen today, according to Gerald Haug, professor at the Department for Earth Sciences at ETH Zürich and co-author of the study, which was published online yesterday in “Nature Geoscience”.</p> <h4 class="heading">Seasonal sediment deposits</h4> <p class="p">Seasonal sediment accumulation, for example, gave scientists clues to these strong climate fluctuations. They can be read in lakes in a similar way to reading rings on trees. In warmer phases and melting glaciers, the accumulation of sediments increases. More clues on the changes in glacier growth were given by the element titanium, which is present in the sediments. Glaciers erode their bedrock, and in doing so concentrate the titanium contained in the sediments they are carrying. The sediments containing titanium are washed into the glacier’s draining lakes in the meltwater. The amount of sediment and the titanium content can therefore allow us to deduce when the glaciers were stable and when they melted. The researchers interpreted the maxims, recurring every 10 years, as phases of strong glacier activity caused by temperature fluctuations and thus as warmer times.</p> <h4 class="heading">A seemingly self-preserving cycle</h4> <p class="p">The scientists also examined a sediment core from seabed deposits of the same age in the North Atlantic. They reconstructed the original temperature and salt concentration of the water based on microfossils and the oxygen isotope ratio in the sediment. It was shown that the results from the lake sediments corresponded to those from the sea sediments. “The melting of glaciers was caused by the warm Gulf stream advancing into this region,” Gerald Haug explains. This increase in temperature caused the west winds to shift to the north and brought warm air to northern Europe. However, the meltwater draining into the Atlantic lowered the salt concentration and the density of the surface water, changing the convection in the ocean, which in turn allowed new sea ice to form. Subsequently, the Gulf Stream and the west winds were again forced out of the North Atlantic area and the region cooled down once again. These processes were repeated for around 400 years, until the current interglacial period was able to stabilise itself.</p> <p class="p">The Würm glaciation began around 100,000 years ago and lasted until around 10,000 years ago. In this period, there were strong fluctuations between warm and cold phases, particularly in the North Atlantic area. The Younger Dryas, which ushered in the current interglacial period, is one of the best-known and best-researched abrupt climate changes of that glaciation. It began around 12,900 years ago and at first caused an abrupt temperature drop in the northern hemisphere, as well as a temperature rise of up to 10°C in less than 20 years towards the end, around 11,700 years ago.</p> <h4 class="heading">Unclear mechanisms</h4> <p class="p">Up until now, there have been several studies which document the glacial conditions during the Younger Dryas period of 1,200 years. However, the mechanisms which caused it, sustained it and finally led to an interglacial period have yet to be fully understood. The researchers believe that further high-resolution studies of this type could give insights into how glacial periods are triggered and how they are brought to an end.<strong><br /> </strong></p> ” data-medium-file=”” data-large-file=”” class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-5864″ src=”http://ift.tt/2kpLdme&#8221; alt=”EGOM”/>

US Gulf of Mexico GOMSEA Areas. DOI

Offshore drilling is not a fit for Florida: Guestview

Francis Rooney, Guest columnist Published 9:00 a.m. CT Dec. 1, 2017

Offshore drilling and related activities, including seismic testing, have no place in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium on exploration in the Eastern Gulf established in 2006 will expire in 2022 unless Congress acts. It is imperative for the future of Florida and our tourism-based economy that this bi-partisan effort to extend the moratorium succeed. I believe that I have some credibility on this issue, having served on the board of one of the world’s leading land and offshore drilling firms for almost twenty years, Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (HP). In addition to its own offshore rigs, HP was the contractor on the Shell Oil’s huge MARS platform in the Gulf, and owned a major interest in Atwood Oceanics, a premier operator of drill ships. We have our own family working interests in oil and gas, and I served for many years on the board of Laredo Petroleum, Inc., and our private exploration and production company based in Bogota, Colombia.

The Eastern Gulf is of critical importance to our national security due to the flight training and testing that takes place from our numerous bases in the panhandle and around Tampa to Naval Air Station Key West. The Eastern Gulf is the largest training ground for the United States military in the world. For this reason, the Department of Defense (DoD) fully supports extending the moratorium on offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf. In response to a letter to the Department of Defense, which 14 of my Florida colleagues and I sent in March, A.M. Kurta, the acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, responded that it is of “vital importance” to maintain the moratorium.

Aside from security concerns, offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf will adversely impact our environment.

[…]

Francis Rooney is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district. He is the vice-chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce. He previously served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2008.

With all due respect to Congressman Rooney, he’s wrong about almost everything.

Congressman Rooney: “Aside from security concerns…”

There are no genuine security concerns.

Eastern Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Exploration and Military Readiness

[…]

For many years, senior DoD civilian and military officials consistently reported that their forces were having an increasingly difficult time carrying out realistic training and testing due to constraints caused by encroachment on military ranges and installations from a myriad of factors, including munitions restrictions, transient ships or aircraft, electronic spectrum limitations, critical habitats, and adjacent water or land use by civilian or commercial entities, including offshore oil and natural gas facilities. However, upon examining the issue closely, it becomes readily apparent that, at the time, they had no factual basis for making those claims. Despite direction from Congress, until last year DoD had failed to adequately collect and analyze data regarding training and testing constraints due to encroachment.

[…]

Therefore, after conducting extensive research on the issues and completing a thorough analysis of the data, it is our conclusion that opening further portions of the Gulf of Mexico east of the Military Mission Line to oil and gas field exploration and development will not come at the expense of feasibly, sufficiently, and adequately accomplishing military training and testing missions. We do not believe that expanding oil and gas exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf within the Gulf of Mexico and pursuing national security goals are mutually exclusive actions.

[…]

Eastern Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Exploration and Military Readiness, Securing America’s Future Energy 2010

Aside from the lack of genuine security concerns, there could be quite a bit of oil & gas to be recovered…

OCS

Eastern Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Exploration and Military Readiness

Congressman Rooney: “Seismic testing to evaluate conditions for oil exploration may harm fish and marine mammal populations.”

There is zero-point-zero evidence that marine seismic surveying has harmed marine life in the Gulf of Mexcio… And a helluva lot of seismic data have been shot in the Gulf.

Seismic data has even been acquired all over the West Florida Shelf.

IAGC Seismic Surveying 101

Marine airguns are no louder than many other naturally occurring and anthropogenic “sounds in the marine environment”…

marinesounds

IOGP Report 358 (out of print)

There are many natural sources of sound within the marine environment: wind, rain, waves, marine mammal vocalizations and the sounds made by other marine life all contribute to relatively high levels of ambient sounds. Other natural events such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and lightning strikes produce short-lived high intensity sounds underwater.

In addition, there are many man-made (anthropogenic) sources of sound in the ocean. Theseinclude shipping, fishing, sonar (used for navigation, fishing and defence), construction,dredging, military activities as well as seismic surveys. Each of these sources, whether naturalor anthropogenic, has different frequencies and intensities in the marine environment.

Since sound is common in the marine environment, animals have evolved strategies to use sound and manage successfully in sound-filled environments. Potential impact, if any, of a specific sound depends on its characteristics, the species receiving the sound and other characteristics of the marine environment.

Sound characteristics (see inset overleaf) include how loud a sound is perceived, the duration and sound type, whether the sound is considered impulsive (transient) or continuous (ongoing) and the sound’s frequency (pitch).

A seismic acoustic source array emits a sound that lasts less than 0.1 second. It is typically repeated every 10 to 15 seconds as the seismic vessel moves along a straight ‘data acquisition’ line at a speed of about 5 knots for many kilometres. After which the vessel will move to another acquisition line and may return to the area many hours later.

IOGP/AAGC Seismic Surveys and Marine Mammals

..

WHY DO WHALES BEACH THEMSELVES?

When it comes to why whales beach themselves scientists haven’t been able to find a clear answer but have had many speculations and ideas as to why this may occur.

Whales beaching themselves have been recorded throughout history.

In fact historical records indicate that whales have been beaching themselves since at least 300 B.C., however scientists are discovering that whale stranding’s appear to be occurring more frequently and in larger numbers than previously known and while scientists are unclear as to whether this increase in numbers is simply due to more people reporting stranding’s or because the number of stranding’s has actually increased due to human factors it has raised some concerns in the eyes of marine biologists, activists and whale lovers.

[…]

While no definite answer can be given as to the cause of whale beaching’s and whether or not they are actually increasing in recent times we can assume that at least some of these concepts and ideas may be contributing to the cause of whale beaching’s.

Below you can find several possible causes that may contribute to the beaching of whales.

12 POSSIBLE REASONS WHY WHALES BEACH THEMSELVES

1) Injuries from collisions with boats, ships and other man-made aquatic machines.

[…]

2) Water pollution

[…]

3) Confusion due to man-made sonar

Some biologists and scientists speculate that whales may become disoriented, sick and confused by the use of man-made sonar which may interfere with a whales brainwaves or use of echolocation causing the whale to lose its sense of direction and beach itself.

[…]

4) Natural diseases

[…]

5) Attacks from sharks or other marine mammals

[…]

6) Poison from various aquatic species

[…]

7) Changes or abnormalities in the earths magnetic field

[…]

8) Pneumonia

[…]

9) Traumas caused by various aquatic elements in the environment

[…]

10) Changes in the weather and ocean caused by global warming

[…]

11) The whale has already died

[…]

12) Following the pack

[…]

Whale Facts

Conspicuously absent from the list are marine seismic surveys. Sonar is the closest match: “Some biologists and scientists speculate that whales may become disoriented, sick and confused by the use of man-made sonar.” I like how they differentiate biologists from scientists. Like sonar, some biologists speculate that marine airguns may cause whale beachings, despite a total lack of evidence.

6. STRANDING AND MORTALITY

Marine mammals close to underwater detonations of high explosive can be killed or severely injured, and the auditory organs are especially susceptible to injury (Ketten et al., 1993; Ketten, 1995). Airgun pulses are less energetic and their peak amplitudes have slower rise times. To date, there is no evidence that serious injury, death, or stranding by marine mammals can occur from exposure to airgun pulses, even in the case of large airgun arrays. Additionally, Hilcorp’s project will use low-intensity sonar equipment in shallow water. NMFS does not expect any marine mammals will incur injury or mortality in the shallow waters off Beaufort Sea or strand as a result of the proposed geohazard survey.

Federal Register

And despite this total lack of evidence, marine geophysical contractors take extreme precautions in order to avoid disturbing marine mammals.

In spite of a lack of evidence linking seismic surveys to strandings, geophysical contractors have implemented industry-wide mitigation practices to avoid impacts on marine species. Regulators and seismic surveyors establish a marine mammal exclusion zone before beginning operations, and they hire trained observers with the authority to stop operations if a sensitive species is spotted within the exclusion zone. Operators also gradually ramp up sound emissions and move their vessels slowly, in order to allow marine mammals to move away from the area before full operation begins.

IAGC

Marine Environment

The geophysical industry is committed to conducting offshore activities in an environmentally responsible manner, including compliance with mitigation and monitoring guidelines and regulations. More than four decades of worldwide seismic surveying and various scientific research indicate that the risk of direct physical injury to marine mammals is extremely low. In addition, there is no scientific evidence that demonstrates biologically significant negative impacts on marine life populations. Nevertheless, the members of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC) support measures that are proportionate to the potential risk and based on the best available science to minimize any potential impact of their operations.

IAGC

Mitigation and monitoring must be proportionate to the potential risks identified by an environmental assessment and specific to the local environment and the operation being undertaken. Measures commonly used by the seismic industry include timing seismic surveys to avoid known areas of biological significance, such as whale foraging or breeding areas or avoiding seasonal marine life occurrences such as peak whale and dolphin activity seasons or migration.

Before a seismic operation begins, visual monitoring is undertaken to check for the presence of marine mammals and other marine species within a specified precautionary, or exclusion zone, often using dedicated marine mammal observers (MMOs) or protected species observers (PSOs).

Further monitoring may be done using passive acoustic monitoring technology (PAM), which may detect vocalizing marine animals, especially during low visibility and nighttime conditions. In the event marine animals are detected in the exclusion zone, seismic operation will not begin for a certain time period until the marine animal moves away. Similarly, a seismic survey will shut down if the marine animal is observed entering the exclusion zone once operations have begun.

Soft-start or ramping-up procedures are undertaken by seismic vessels as a matter of general operational procedure. Soft starts involve activating a small section of the acoustic sound arrays over a period of time, gradually getting louder until the full acoustic array is operating. This measure also allows a marine animal to swim away before the acoustic source is activated at full strength.

IAGC

iagc1

Congressman Rooney: “There is no place in our shallow bays to locate … the numerous offshore supply vessels (OSV’s) and barges supplying the rigs and platforms.”

[…]

There is no place in our shallow bays, full of recreational vessels, to locate the tank farms, docks, steel mooring balls, and other equipment which are necessary to support the numerous offshore supply vessels (OSV’s) and barges supplying the rigs and platforms.  All of this would radically undermine Florida’s coastal ecosystems.

These environmental concerns directly impact Florida’s economy and residents. Our economies depend on tourism, which requires clean beaches and healthy ecosystems.

[…]

Pensacola News Journal

Mr. Rooney, Florida may not have adequate port facilities to support Eastern Gulf of Mexico exploration & production operations, but Mobile, Alabama does.

Most of the recognized oil & gas potential in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico is closer to Mobile than it is to Tampa.

From ETH in Zurich, this interesting essay on the last glacial period has some interesting points to ponder. h/t to Sid Stafford – Anthony

<p>The last glacial period was characterised by strong climatic fluctuations. Scientists have now been able to prove very frequent and rapid climate change, particularly at the end of the Younger Dryas period, around 12,000 years ago. These fluctuations were accompanied by rapid changes in circulation in the oceans and the atmosphere.</p>

Researchers are able to determine when glaciers were stable and when they melted by studying titanium content in glacial lake sediments. (Picture: siyublog/flickr)<!– (mehr Bilder) –>

</div> <p>Sediment deposits in lakes are the climate archives of the past. An international team of researchers from Norway, Switzerland and Germany have now examined sediments originating from the Younger Dryas period from the Kråkenes Lake in northwest Norway. In the sediments, they found clues that point to a “climate flicker” at the end of the last glacial period, oscillating between colder and warmer phases until the transition to the stable climate of the Holocene, our current interglacial period. The short-term, strong fluctuations of the Younger Dryas would have dwarfed the “extreme weather phenomena” seen today, according to Gerald Haug, professor at the Department for Earth Sciences at ETH Zürich and co-author of the study, which was published online yesterday in “Nature Geoscience”.<!–more–></p> <h4>Seasonal sediment deposits</h4> <p>Seasonal sediment accumulation, for example, gave scientists clues to these strong climate fluctuations. They can be read in lakes in a similar way to reading rings on trees. In warmer phases and melting glaciers, the accumulation of sediments increases. More clues on the changes in glacier growth were given by the element titanium, which is present in the sediments. Glaciers erode their bedrock, and in doing so concentrate the titanium contained in the sediments they are carrying. The sediments containing titanium are washed into the glacier’s draining lakes in the meltwater. The amount of sediment and the titanium content can therefore allow us to deduce when the glaciers were stable and when they melted. The researchers interpreted the maxims, recurring every 10 years, as phases of strong glacier activity caused by temperature fluctuations and thus as warmer times.</p> <h4>A seemingly self-preserving cycle</h4> <p>The scientists also examined a sediment core from seabed deposits of the same age in the North Atlantic. They reconstructed the original temperature and salt concentration of the water based on microfossils and the oxygen isotope ratio in the sediment. It was shown that the results from the lake sediments corresponded to those from the sea sediments. “The melting of glaciers was caused by the warm Gulf stream advancing into this region,” Gerald Haug explains. This increase in temperature caused the west winds to shift to the north and brought warm air to northern Europe. However, the meltwater draining into the Atlantic lowered the salt concentration and the density of the surface water, changing the convection in the ocean, which in turn allowed new sea ice to form. Subsequently, the Gulf Stream and the west winds were again forced out of the North Atlantic area and the region cooled down once again. These processes were repeated for around 400 years, until the current interglacial period was able to stabilise itself.</p> <p>The Würm glaciation began around 100,000 years ago and lasted until around 10,000 years ago. In this period, there were strong fluctuations between warm and cold phases, particularly in the North Atlantic area. The Younger Dryas, which ushered in the current interglacial period, is one of the best-known and best-researched abrupt climate changes of that glaciation. It began around 12,900 years ago and at first caused an abrupt temperature drop in the northern hemisphere, as well as a temperature rise of up to 10°C in less than 20 years towards the end, around 11,700 years ago.</p> <h4>Unclear mechanisms</h4> <p>Up until now, there have been several studies which document the glacial conditions during the Younger Dryas period of 1,200 years. However, the mechanisms which caused it, sustained it and finally led to an interglacial period have yet to be fully understood. The researchers believe that further high-resolution studies of this type could give insights into how glacial periods are triggered and how they are brought to an end.<strong><br /> </strong></p> ” data-medium-file=”” data-large-file=”” class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-5866″ src=”http://ift.tt/2kqT9Uh&#8221; alt=”th_82226″/>

EASTERN GULF OF MEXICO-1: A look at regional deposition under W. Florida shelf, slope 01/21/2002. Oil & Gas Journal.

The activity would focus on the Jurassic Norphlet and Smackover plays south of Mobile Bay and the Florida panhandle.   Support operations and shore bases would be located in the Mobile Bay area… because they are already there.

For further reference on the oil & gas plays of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Featured Image Source

About the Author

David Middleton works for the evil oil industry.  He has 36 years of experience as a geologist/geophysicist working for “Little Oil” (as opposed to Big Oil).  He is a member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and Houston Geological Society (HGS).

 

via Watts Up With That?

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December 6, 2017 at 10:00AM

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