Oil reported just offshore Cuba; Forecast “clearly shows the oil moving southeastward”

Sunday, June 20, 2010
By Paul Martin

FloridaOilSpillLaw.com June 20th, 2010

USF model projects oil spill will expand further southward toward loop current, WTSP Channel 10 Tampa Bay, June 18, 2010

A high pressure system centered over the Gulf of Mexico will bring light northwesterly winds to the oil spill area over the next few days.

As a result, models that attempt to predict the future track of the spill are suggesting that the oil will head back toward the southeast and closer to the loop current.

With mainly light winds in place, the heating of the surface by the sun will play a major role in the wind direction over the spill area. During the early morning hours winds will blow lightly out of the northwest. This pushes the oil away from the coast and toward the southeast out to sea.

As the land heats up during the afternoon hours, a sea breeze develops causing the wind to back to the SSW and blowing the oil back toward the shore. Later in the evening, as the air cools, the winds once again turn to the northwest. The overall affect this will have is to force the oil further toward the southeast and closer to the loop current.

The University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science and the Ocean Circulation Group and jointly produce a computer model that predicts the path of the oil spill. The latest run clearly shows the oil moving southeastward and pushing up against the current. This could lead to more oil entering the current over the next few days. …

The flow out of the loop current is not completely shut off and will likely never do so.

There are now reports of an oil sheen just offshore of Cuba. This implies the oil has reached the southeastern extent of the loop current and could continue east through the Florida straights.

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