July 2, 2010 – Dr. John Kessler Ph.D. Earth System Science – Gulf of Mexico

Listen/view program


legacylogoNew Legacy Series – Re-Mastered Radio Streaming Broadcast: April 11, 2014 (Original Broadcast July 2, 2010)

Dr. John Kessler Ph.D. Earth System Science


“BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Crisis”





view_person_picDr. Kessler is a chemical oceanographer who focuses on isotope biogeochemistry to eluciade how gases in the ocean cycle and ultimately participate in global climate change.  He is particularly interested in oceanic methane which, due to the dynamic nature and massive size of the relatively unexplored oceanic methane system, has the potential for feedbacks with climate.  Dr. Kessler’s research strives to quantify sources, sinks, and fluxes of oceanic methane using analytical chemistry measurements with particular emphasis on stable and radiocarbon isotopes.  These measurements are then used in regional geochemical models to quantify methane biogeochemical cycling.  In past projects, these techniques were used to study methane geochemistry in the Bering Sea, Cariaco Basin, Black Sea, and Southern California Bight to determine 1) whether methane was formed by biological, abiological (e.g. serpentization), or thermogenic processes and 2) what the present-day fluxes of methane are from sediments, methane clathrate hydrates, hydrocarbon seeps, vents, and mud volcanoes.

Dr. Kessler’s research is heavily rooted in analytical chemistry and he is presently developing a portable Cavity-Ringdown Spectrometer to make measurements of methane concentration and stable isotopes (δ2H-CH4 and δ13C-CH4) in the field thus eliminating hours of sample processing and any artifacts introduced by transporting samples back to the laboratory for analysis.


Producer: Pat O’ Brien Veteran Journalist/Investigative Reporter

pat2Pat O’Brien has over 40 years of experience as investagative journalist in radio/ TV news, advertising and marketing. Since the disaster that robbed the souls of eleven in the Gulf, Mr. O’Brien has dedicated himself to find answers and solutions to the BP spill. As he and his research team discovered and verified that the dispersant product being used by BP is a poison that had been banned for use in the UK since 1998, he felt an obligation to reveal their findings to the world by joining the David Gibbons “In Discussion” program. Mr. O’Brien obtained his B.S. degree from Ithaca College in Broadcast Communication Management.



“The Gulf of Mexico Disaster” – The Deep Water Horizon MACADO 252 Disaster

dhpoThe Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill or the Macondo blowout) is a massive ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, now considered the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.Some estimates placed it by late May or early June as among the largest oil spills in the world with tens of millions of gallons spilled to date. The spill stems from a sea floor 10,000 foot deep oil gusher (MC252) that followed the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion. The explosion killed 11 platform workers and injured 17 others. The gusher, now estimated by the quasi-official Flow Rate Technical Group to be flowing at 20,000 to 40,000 barrels (840,000 to 1,700,000 US gallons; 3,200,000 to 6,400,000 litres) of crude oil per day, originates from a deepwater wellhead 5,000 feet (1,500 m) below the ocean surface. The exact spill flow rate is uncertain in part because BP has refused to allow independent scientists to perform accurate measurements and is a matter of ongoing debate. The resulting oil slick covers a surface area of at least 2,500 square miles (6,500 km2), with the exact size and location of the slick fluctuating from day to day depending on weather conditions.

BP-1Scientists have also reported immense underwater plumes of oil not visible at the surface. Experts fear that the spill will result in an environmental disaster, with extensive impact already on marine and wildlife habitats. The spill has also damaged the Gulf of Mexico fishing and tourism industries. There have been a variety of ongoing efforts to stem the flow of oil at the wellhead. Crews have been working to protect hundreds of miles of beaches, wetlands and estuaries along the northern Gulf coast, using skimmer ships, floating containment booms, anchored barriers, and sand-filled barricades along shorelines. The U.S. Government has named BP as the responsible party in the incident, and officials have said the company will be held accountable for all cleanup costs resulting from the oil spill.




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