Clear evidence oil spill particles in Florida Straits; Projected to reach from Key West to West Palm Beach shelf areas

Regional Gulf of Mexico Model circulation forecasts, University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, June 15-22, 2010:

Latest comments: The Loop Current (LC) has regained an extended position with the top part (which had previously formed a clockwise Loop Current Eddy or LCE) re-attached to the LC and projected to remain re-attached through June 22. We stress that this is a model prediction, subject to uncertainties. However, the model has been very successful during the oil spill period that we have been monitoring, especially in terms of predicting the complex LCE formation process, with the frequent detachment/re-attachment phases.

Surface circulation

Sea Surface Height June 15 & 22(UofM)

A new cyclonic (counter-clockwise) eddy feature is playing a dominant role in the LC evolution and the pathways that eventually connect the Deep Horizon accident location and South Florida. This eddy is seen at the Northeastern edge of the LC and it is projected to intensify, as it moves to deeper waters toward south, predicted at about 26N, 86W on June 22. …

[Previous Comments:] Another significant change is the weakening of the western and eastern cyclonic eddies (see previous commnets) [sic], between the LCE and the direct Yucatan-Florida Straits LC branch. This situation could either evolve to re-attachment of the LCE (in which case the route between the oil spill area and South Florida would strengthen again) or a ring separation.

For the next days, the connectivity to the Florida Keys and the Southeast Florida coastal areas is predicted to increase. For the first time, we have clear data based evidence of oil spill related particles entering the Florida Straits and model predictions that favor surrounding water particles to reach the shelf areas from Key West to West Palm Beach.

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