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Now, in the first independent, peer-reviewed paper on the Gulf oil spills’s volume, scientists have affirmed heightened estimates of what is now acknowledged as the largest marine oil accident ever. Using a new technique to analyze underwater video of the well riser, they say it leaked some 56,000 to 68,000 barrels daily—maybe more—until the first effective cap was installed, on July 15. Their estimate of the total oil escaped into the open ocean is some 4.4 million barrels—close to the most recent consensus of government advisors, whose methods have not been detailed publicly. The paper appears in this week’s early online edition of the leading journal Science.