Flow Model Shows Gulf Spill Affecting East Florida

Most of the oil spill from BP's Gulf gusher is still under the sea surface. That means that even satellite images have difficulty presenting us with a true picture of the extent of the oil spread.

The University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has produced a computer model of the likely spread, based on the US Navy Coastal Ocean Model and using the sophisticated maths of turbulent flows in fluid dynamics to understand the evolution of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Their video of the oil spread only runs to June 13th, so you'll have to use your imagination for the last two weeks.

The model shows the Florida Keys began to be affected around a month ago, and the Tampa Bay and Sarasota areas with oil about twenty-five miles offshore on June 13. But by then, tendrils of oil were sweeping up Florida's east coast as far as St. Augustine and Jacksonville.

Two weeks have elapsed since the final frames of that video. Two weeks of more than two million gallons a day of toxic gunk to further feed the circulation system you see below.

Watch this a few times (while keeping one eye on the date counter), and you'll get a pretty good idea of how the spill is affecting different areas. Notice how the flow surges in the first two weeks of June and then imagine two more weeks like that since then.

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