Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Scenario: Gulf Oil Slick Might Piggback On Gulf Loop Current To U.S. East Coast

If..if ...if ...the winds change directions and blow southwards, the massive oil slick of the Louisiana coast might get caught up in the Gulf Loop Current and eventually make its way to the east coast.

Here is a depiction of the Gulf Loop Current:

Image credit: NASA's Earth Observatory/U.S. Naval Research Laboratory via Discovery News

The Gulf Loop Current is a clockwise current that flows in the Gulf of Mexico. It is strongest in the spring and summer and loops around the Florida Keys and joins the Gulf stream off the U.S east coast. Currently the slick is north of this current and the winds are blowing northwards bringing the oil to the gulf coastline of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The efforts to plug the leak though might take up to a couple of months if BP is forced to drill another well to inject sealants into the leaking well. The danger of winds changing direction in the interim and the slick moving south is real.

OnPoint Radio discusses the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster and its impact on the environment and the economy of the gulf coast region.

Elsewhere Chris at Highly Allocthonous writes about the every present danger and enhanced risk of spills and leaks that is inherent in increasingly complex energy projects like Deepwater Horizon which seek to recover energy from difficult to access areas and makes a pitch for better and stricter safety regulations to be made mandatory.

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