A Data Visualization Blog by Kyle Biehle (on twitter @kbiehle2)
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the art of Graphical Manipulation
The folks at BP would like you to think they're doing an amazing job of cleaning up their mess. Look at all that positive green growth. Green is growing. Green is good. BP is green.
Stephen Few calls them out on how they are over-stating the success of their clean-up efforts by using a cumulative bar graph. Steve does a great job of showing how the effort has actually slowed over time if you look at the daily amounts collected.
I took Steve's numbers, used an estimate of 15,000 barrels leaked per day which is half-way between current predictions of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day, and came up with this view of the spill to date. BP's success in the containment of the spill is not quite as impressive with this view: The oil leaked to date dwarfs the amount that has been captured by BP.
Note: As "anonymous" points out in the comments, this does not take into account oil that has been collected on the surface - only oil captured by the "Riser Insertion Tube Tool". However, best-case scenarios of experts estimate that only about 10% of oil, once spilled in open water, can be re-captured.