12 thoughts on “The Gulf and Mississippi Delta

  1. I also just heard a report that this could be a bad hurricane season which could make this even much worse.

    1. I also just heard a report that this could be a bad hurricane season which could make this even much worse.

      That would be the NOAA: 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. Dr. Jeff Masters covers it here. (Dr. Masters has also been following the movement of the oil closely, and has written some articles about how the oil spill might affect a hurricane that passes over it.)
      Note the skill of the NOAA Hurricane Season Outlook in May is very slim – it’s really only useful for one parameter, ACE. It’s mostly a tool for testing ideas about how to do such forecasts. Wait for the August outlook – that one has quite a bit of skill. On the other hand – SSTs in the main hurricane development region have been ridiculously high, with both March and April well above previous records. That doesn’t bode well; if the other conditions necessary for hurricane formation become favorable, lots of heat in the ocean means a much higher likelihood of an intense hurricane.

    2. My original reply is in moderation – presumably due to having 3 links. So I’m going to do some testing to determine the link limit:

      I also just heard a report that this could be a bad hurricane season which could make this even much worse.

      That would be the NOAA: 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. Dr. Jeff Masters covers it here. (Dr. Masters has also been following the movement of the oil closely, and has written some articles about how the oil spill might affect a hurricane that passes over it.)
      Note the skill of the NOAA Hurricane Season Outlook in May is very slim – it’s really only useful for one parameter, ACE. It’s mostly a tool for testing ideas about how to do such forecasts. Wait for the August outlook – that one has quite a bit of skill. On the other hand – SSTs in the main hurricane development region have been ridiculously high, with both March and April well above previous records. That doesn’t bode well; if the other conditions necessary for hurricane formation become favorable, lots of heat in the ocean means a much higher likelihood of an intense hurricane.

    3. My original reply is in moderation – presumably due to having 3 links. So I’m going to do some testing to determine the link limit:

      I also just heard a report that this could be a bad hurricane season which could make this even much worse.

      That would be the NOAA: 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. Dr. Jeff Masters covers it here. (Dr. Masters has also been following the movement of the oil closely, and has written some articles about how the oil spill might affect a hurricane that passes over it.)
      Note the skill of the NOAA Hurricane Season Outlook in May is very slim – it’s really only useful for one parameter, ACE. It’s mostly a tool for testing ideas about how to do such forecasts. Wait for the August outlook – that one has quite a bit of skill. On the other hand – SSTs in the main hurricane development region have been ridiculously high, with both March and April well above previous records. That doesn’t bode well; if the other conditions necessary for hurricane formation become favorable, lots of heat in the ocean means a much higher likelihood of an intense hurricane.

  2. I can’t look at those photos for very long. Makes my stomach hurt. I have friends in Bama that I want to smack upside the head every time they post something on facebook like, “God, please don’t let the oil come to Alabama beaches because I want to go to Gulf Shores for summer vacation!” Ugh. Glad to see you care so much about the wildlife…

  3. I’m curious about something:
    1. hurricanes are worse the higher the water temp is
    2. the oil is darkening the water
    3. dark colors retain heat
    4. the oil consistency will also retain heat

    Will the oil make hurricanes worse and will hurricanes disperse the oil over a greater area of water? Will they both exacerbate each other’s effects?

    1. Contrary to popular belief, the ocean is “black” anyway, so putting black stuff on top doesn’t increase the amount of energy absorbed (unless it’s a matte black which would reduce reflections at an angle). The sea surface temperature is estimated by satellites which measure the infrared radiation emitted by the sea surface. When viewing the sea surface with visible light imagers, except at an angle or when you’ve got a lot of whitecaps, the ocean is black and you only see the blue light scattered by the atmosphere. Now the oil isn’t actually black unless you have enough of it. When the lighter (and less viscuous) components spread out so much that you see rainbow colors, most light passes right through it. When it’s think enough to be black then there will be a notable increase in temperature right at the surface but at night the oil will cool down and soon be the same temperature as the uncontaminated sea.

      The oil on the surface would also inhibit evaporation – but despite the extent of the oil slick, that’s only a tiny bit of the overall surface evaporation being inhibited; any measurable effects are likely to be local, but if anything that region would be supplying less water vapor to the atmosphere.

      Now if I weren’t so busy I’d pull some data out of the satellite archives to show the visible and the infrared before and after the slick. In the infrared you should be able to compare images of contaminated and uncontaminated regions during the day (~9:00 and ~15:00 overpasses) as well as the evening overpasses; if there is an observable temperature difference between contaminated and uncontaminated during the day I would expect that difference to disappear by the later nightime pass.

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