30 April 2010

..Oil That Is!- Black Gold on White Beaches

Posted by Dan Satterfield

NASA Modis view of the oil slick in the Gulf. Taken Thursday.

Unless you watched a certain American TV show from the 1960’s you might not get the title to this post but suffice it to say the situation on the Gulf Coast is dire tonight.

The oil has reached the Louisiana Coast and the smell of it is widespread all the way to Alabama.

Close up of Gulf oil slick from NASA Modis Satellites.

The winds have really picked up across the gulf and the seas are now running at 6-8 feet. This is spreading the oil out in the water column and across the surface. The winds will continue to blow the oil toward the fragile marsh lands near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Eventually the winds will turn more to the southwest. This will steer the oil further east to the white sandy beaches of Alabama and Florida.

The wetlands along the coast of Louisiana are not only vital areas of biodiversity, but they act as a huge buffer to the flooding from hurricanes. If they are damaged, the risk to New Orleans and other areas will increase. Perhaps substantially.

The winds will diminish early next week and the oil will begin drifting North and eastward but with less wind it may become more concentrated as it approaches the coast of Alabama and Florida.

A buoy near the worst of the oil slick is now showing a southerly wind at 20 knots with waves 6.5 feet. This increases the risk of significant oil reaching the Mississippi Coast tonight.