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View Diary: Top Kill LiveBlog - Diary 4 (389 comments)

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  •  Short answer: No (12+ / 0-)

    This was covered yesterday by Jeff Masters at weatherunderground.com.  The main worry is that a storm surge could transport part of the main slick much further inland than it would otherwise get, but he seemed pretty confident that there was no transport mechanism that would end up with it raining oil, mainly because the volatile fractions that could mix with water in that way evaporate out of the slick within a few days.

    •  any indication if there have been studies done (1+ / 0-)
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      lightfoot

      on how much a wide spread oil spill warms surface ocean temperatures? That seems like it would play into increased hurricane activity.

      Ah - looks like Masters mentions it, but doesn't overly highlight it as the major issue...

      Thus we might have a 250-mile wide spinning oil slick in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico for days or weeks after a hurricane. This could potentially have a significant warming effect on the Gulf waters, since the oil is dark and will absorb sunlight, and the oil will prevent evaporation from cooling the waters underneath it. Since Loop Current eddies contain a large amount of very warm water that extend to great depth, they often act as high-octane fuel for hurricanes that pass over. The rapid intensification of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were both aided by the passage of those storms over Loop Current eddies. Thus the warming of the Loop Current Eddy by oil pulled into it by a passing hurricane or tropical storm could lead to explosive intensification of the next hurricane that passes over the eddy.

      I wonder how much the oil (and dispersants and dead sea animals) will increase the SST before any hurricanes come through.

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