New Projections Show Gulf Oil Surging Up Atlantic Coast

04 Jun

Just in case you thought the worst was over with the Oil disaster in the Gulf, new projections now call for the spill to travel up the Atlantic coast, possibly all the way to Delaware or New Jersey.

Potential Map of Oil Spill Route

New Projections Show Gulf Oil Surging Up Atlantic Coast

New projections show that currents will soon carry oil from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean and up the Eastern seaboard — but won’t hit New York, probably.

The projections, released today, on day 45 of the BP oil spill, come from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) — which, despite its name, routinely studies ocean currents as well.

The NCAR released a video from a computer model, which shows that the oil will begin to drift around the tip of the Florida Peninsula around day 72 of the spill — and then currents will quickly carry it around Florida and up the East coast.

It will reach North Carolina by day 80 and then flow east into the Atlantic Ocean.

“I’ve had a lot of people ask me, ‘Will the oil reach Florida?’ Actually, our best knowledge says the scope of this environmental disaster is likely to reach far beyond Florida, with impacts that have yet to be understood,” said NCAR scientist Synte Peacock, in their report.

However, Peacock and the other researchers also emphasize that this is a “simulation” and not a “forecast.”

The results were achieved using a computer program that simulates dye traveling through ocean currents. So no actual dye was released into water; the computer instead reached its projection by calculating the dispersal rate of a “dye tracer.”

The report admits that the programmed “dye” has little physical similarity with oil. The dye in the model “has the same density as the surrounding water, does not coagulate or form slicks, and is not subject to chemical breakdown by bacteria or other forces,” the report indicates.

“It is impossible to accurately predict the precise location of the oil weeks or months from now,” NCAR said in its report, instead calling its projections “an envelope of possible scenarios for the oil dispersal.”

Nevertheless, Tri-Staters are on alert.

“I think everybody who has a fishing boat or goes fishing is thinking about it a lot,” New Jersey fishing boat captain Howard Bogan told NBCNewYork last week.

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Posted by on June 4, 2010 in News


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