Gulf Oil Slick in Loop Current
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing eleven men. The oil rig then sank on April 22, 2010. Since then, oil has been spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. Attempts to stop the oil spill have been met with only limited success.
NASA has taken another picture of the oil from its Terra satellite using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument. In the image to the right, the warmth of the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico stands out. Cooler temperatures are denoted by blue and purple while warmer temperatures are denoted by pink and yellow. The light gray areas are clouds.
Despite the name of the web page below, the oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon disaster has reached the Loop Current. However, the oil that has reached the Loop Current is a light sheen. Therefore, for now at least, the volume of oil is expected to be greatly reduced by evaporation by the time it reaches the Florida Straits.
Click on the link below to see the full image.
The bottom image shows the location of the leaking well and the approximate location of the southern arm of the oil slick on May 17 (based on natural-color MODIS imagery). Oil was very close to the Loop Current, whose warm waters appear in yellow near the bottom of the image. However, there is also an eddy of cooler water (purple) circulating counterclockwise at the top of the Loop Current. According to NOAA, “Some amount of any oil drawn into the Loop Current would likely remain in the eddy, heading to the northeast, and some would enter the main Loop Current, where it might eventually head to the Florida Strait.”