Posted by: stiltsville | May 4, 2010

May 5 oil spill prediction / forecast map

May 5 oil spill location prediction map

This map is the first to show the effect of time on the floating oil. The slick seems to be breaking up, with edges becoming very ragged as sunlight and saltwater degrades the oil. Perhaps the oil is coagulating into “tar balls” and some are sinking. Still no evidence of anything being sucked into the Loop Current. Yet…

Eventually, some of this oil is going to get sucked into the Loop Current. It will not happen at once, meaning the entire blob will not suddenly start moving.

Instead, he southernmost portion of the slick will start getting dragged south. The current will carry a relatively thin tendril of oil south between the Yucatan and Florida’s west coast. The Loop Current heads straight south until it hits the northwest coast of Cuba, near Havana Harbor, before it turns east between Cuba and the Keys. Heading east past the Florida Keys, the Loop joins the Gulf Stream and turns north at 2 to 4 miles per hour, completing a big “U” shape around Florida. We could end up with a long skinny slick wrapped all the way around South Florida.

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