This satellite image shows a long tail of oil drifting close to the Gulf of Mexico’s so-called loop current, which could then carry the oil south to Florida and even up the East Coast of the U.S.
Although government officials say the oil has not yet reached the loop current, two university scientists interviewed by The New York Times said the oil is circulating in an eddy just north of the loop current and will probably soon be pulled in the direction of Florida.
The loop current carries warm water in a clockwise gyre from the Yucatan Peninsula to the northern Gulf of Mexico and then south to the Florida Keys and the Atlantic Ocean.
Given the increased flow of oil into the eddy, which is roughly 150 miles wide, one scientist said the spill would inevitably make its way to south Florida.
“I see a huge plume being dragged in that direction,” said one scientist. “It’s like a river.”
Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the oil is likely to be diluted by the time it reaches the loop current and that “it sounds scarier than it is.”
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360