Archive for July 4th, 2010

A windy July 4 over the Gulf

July 4th, 2010 No comments

Figure 1:  Here is today’s Gulf of Mexico wave forecast from Oceanweather. The direction of the waves (and the wind that generates them) is to the northwest over most of the Gulf.  As you approach the northern Gulf Coast, the waves (and winds) turn to the west, straight at Louisiana.

Figure 2.  Moving right into the impact on the oil slick, we see big changes in the location since yesterday.  Strong currents observed here in the 25-hour HF Radar currents (green-orange-red arrows) along the inner shelf from Florida to Louisiana appear to be moving all the oil west.

Figure 3.  Zooming in even closer, the highest density plume from the spill site is seen heading straight for the Louisiana coast, and is more than half way there. The iRobot Seaglider 515 remains in the middle of it.  Three deepwater gliders, the Navy Seagliders 135 & 137, and the Scripps/WHOI Spray 40 are patrolling the waters between this slick to the north and the Loop Current Eddy to the south.  On the inner shelf, over the slick, the HF Radar gives us a look at the strong westward flowing surface currents.

Figure 4:  Lastly, for all those folks on the east coast following the Horizon Marine drifter, here is another snapshot with an enhanced Sea Surface Temperature (SST) map showing the drifter is heading northeast and approaching a large meander crest.  The question of this drifter, will it remain in the Gulf Stream and loop around the top of the crest, or will it be ejected in one of the many shingles coming off the crest.