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Sunday, May 9, 2010
Latest Update of Projected Path of Oil Spill - Its an Enormous Threat Waiting to Hit
This is a joint effort of the Ocean Circulation Group and the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at College of Marine Science, University of South Florida to track/predict the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico using simulated drifters/particles. Drifter trajectories were calculated based on the three-hourly surface currents from the West Florida Shelf ROMS Nowcast/Forecast System of University of South Florida. Virtual particles were released from the sunken rig site every three hours, assuming continual oil spill from the well. The initial locations of the drifters were inferred from the latest satellite sensed oil slick patches. The subsequent movements of the virtual particles were estimated by the model, not by observations. It must be recognized that all forecast models have errors that grow with time for a variety of reasons. This is one reason why it is important to consider comparative analyses from several different models. The particles (difters) are shown as black dots, and their trajectries in magenta. Macondo well is designated by the red circle. Sea surface temperature (color contours, units in deg C) was superimposed with the surface current vectors to indicate the surface ocean circulation. The velocity data were subsampled every the third grid points in both east and north directions for better visulization.