Where will the BP spill be a year after the Deepwater Horizon first exploded on April 20th? It's hard to say, of course, and depends largely on whether the relief well BP says will be ready next month is successful in cutting of the deep sea gusher. But oceanographers still have some ideas of what's likely to happen with the spill that's currently amassing in the Gulf -- and they designed a pretty horrifying animated computer simulation to display one possible scenario of how far the spill will reach in 360 day's time. Video is after the jump: This video projects what could happen if the spill is successfully capped by September 17th, and assumes that 50,000 barrels per day have been spewing from the source.
Mother Jones explains some of the more pertinent impacts this projection predicts:
- Oil spreads initially in the Gulf of Mexico before entering the Loop Current, the narrow Florida Current, and finally the Gulf Stream.
- After a year, about 20 percent of the particles have been transported through the Straits of Florida and into the open Atlantic.
- Coastlines near the Carolinas, Georgia, and northern Florida might see the effects of the catastrophe by October.
- The main branch of the subtropical gyre will likely transport the oil towards Europe, though strongly diluted.
- As northeasterly winds intensify near Florida in October and November, the oil in the Atlantic moves closer to eastern US shores as it retreats from western Florida shores.
- The narrow deep Straits of Florida force the Florida Current into a narrow channel, creating a tight bottleneck for the spreading of oil into the Atlantic. As the animation suggests, a filtering system in the narrowest spot of the Florida Current could mitigate the spreading of the oil film into the North Atlantic.
For detailed information about the model, see SOEST.
More on the BP Gulf Spill Predictions
Ocean Currents Likely to Carry Gushing Oil Into Atlantic by Summer's End (Video)
BP Gulf Spill May Cause Loss of 1 Million Jobs : TreeHugger