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June 3, 2010

Computer simulates Gulf oil flow into Atlantic

Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have conducted computer simulations to suggest how oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico might flow into the Atlantic Ocean in the coming weeks.

As has been suggested before, the researchers concluded that once the oil is swept up in the Gulf's fast-moving Loop Current, it will move quickly beyond the Gulf, in to the Gulf Stream, up the East Coast to Cape Hatteras, and from there far out into the Atlantic.

The simulations aren't perfect. They're based on the predicted behavior of a dye, not oil. Precisely how oil and its various components would behave in different depths of seawater is not well understood. But the scientists say their simulations do represent an "envelope of possible scenarios."

Whatever, the animations released by the NCAR folks are fascinating, and troubling.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:06 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Cool pictures


Troubling to say the least. This has been horrible with no clear end in sight. Our children's grandchildren will probably still be dealing with the myriad issues caused by this catastrophe. Pres. Obama is scheduled to appear on "Larry King" at 9 this evening to talk about the situation. Personally, with all respect accorded to the President I'm not interested in listening to King's show. I feel the President needs to speak directly from the White House, prime time, and show some real anger and demand results NOW!!!!

I've read in repeated reports that a Mexican oil company had a leak many years ago that lasted several months and had a lot more oil lost in the Gulf. Yet, I've never read much about what environmental impact it had (was it so close to shore that it was limited?) or if that impact is still being felt.

For now, I'm withholding judgment on what long-term impact this leak will have. Considering there are numerous natural oil leaks in the Gulf and other oceans, I'm wondering how much of the hoopla relating to this leak is just a case of the media taking a problem and blowing it out of proportion. I really wish I could find out more information about the impact of the leak I mentioned above.

FR: That would be the Ixtoc 1 blowout in 1979, which continued for 10 months until drilling mud could be pumped into relief wells to choke off the flow.

The Ixtoc 1 well was in just 160 feet of water. There was some severe environmental damage, but the affected coastlines of Mexico and Texas did not include much sensitive marshland, as in Louisiana. Mostly it affected sandy beaches. Oil in wetlands does far more damage. Here is what seems like a fairly sober assessment of the damage: Three interesting points: Warmer temperatures speeded natural processing and degradation of the oil in the Mexican spill, and a tropical storm seemed to help disperse the oil and clean the Texas beaches. And the fisheries seemed to benefit in the long term from the halt to fishing pressure.

Were you taught whilst growing up that Real Men Don’t Cry Mr. Obama? Well let me tell you now – that is a fallacy! Emotions right this moment, are what will touch those suffering on the Gulf Coast the most, and give them a sense of your love for them.

I believe they are sick and tired of the same old lines. “We’re making good progress” just does not cut it any longer.

Thanks Frank- but this didn't come close to happening.
These computer models, like the global warming ones, are very flawed.

FR: What? Not enough qualifiers in the post for you?

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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