18 May 2010

Oil Slick Entering the Gulf Loop Current (Trust me, that's bad)

Posted by Dan Satterfield

NASA Modis image of the oil slick. The southern part is approaching the Gulf Loop Current. Click image for much larger version.

The Gulf Loop current may very well be picking up the oil slick in the Gulf. This would bring the oil down through the Florida Keys and into the Gulf Stream. Eventually passing between Florida and the Bahamas.

NOAA ocean current model showing the Gulf Loop Current. (Brighter blue.)

Oil in this area could cause severe damage to ocean reefs in the Keys and near the Bahamas. The ocean current models show the path of the loop current very well.

This image from the Real Time Ocean Forecast System (RTOFS) is a forecast of the current late Wednesday afternoon. It’s for water about 100 meters beneath the surface. The loop current is at the surface of the Ocean as well.

Although some oil is now being captured, at least 80% of the leak and probably much more is still flowing into the Gulf. Large plumes of oil are now being detected beneath the surface.

Wind forecast near the coasts, based on numerical weather prediction models. (NOAA NWS)

There is a large amount of oil now west of the Miss. Delta. The wind forecast will continue to push it toward areas along the coast as well. In general the slick seems to be spreading out in a North/South direction.