The leaked BP oil appears to be dissipating relatively rapidly, due to a number of factors, one of which I identified earlier: the higher temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico as opposed to the arctic.

These high temperatures help speed the release of volatile compounds into the air (note: this increases worker exposures that will be under examination as matters unfold), while also increasing microbial activity. Given the tens of thousands of oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico, the microbial population there is likely already adapted to eating these compounds. And, as much as some people may hate to admit it, the dispersant may help increase the rate of microbial activity by improving access of bacteria to the oil compounds (their food).


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