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University of Miami-led study finds winds played important role in keeping oil away from S. Fla.
Date:7/9/2012

lution of the 2010 oil spill. The oil spill simulations were verified through observational composites from UM's Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS) and from Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting System, and benefited from regional circulation models that assimilate real ocean data; no change in the oil spill extent took place to match observations. Results from this study showed that the model simulation including the wind-induced drift led to substantially improved results over an identical simulation that excluded wind drift effects.

"It is striking to notice how a large part of the surface oil erroneously made it to the Atlantic coast of Florida in the simulations that ignored the wind-induced drift. The simulation taking the drift into account correctly calculated the final destination of the oil along the Northern Gulf coastline, in remarkable agreement with observations," says Le Hnaff, a research scientist at the UM Rosenstiel School, who is also affiliated with NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS). "The dominant northward winds during spring and summer of 2010 led the surface oil to be pushed onto the Northern Gulf shelf areas and toward the coasts, away from the interior of the Gulf and the Loop Current southward transport. This effect, together with the evolution of the Loop Current, was crucial in maintaining the oil from the Deepwater Horizon rig within the Gulf of Mexico and away from the South Florida coral reefs and beaches."


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Contact: Barbra Gonzalez, UM Rosenstiel School
barbgo@rsmas.miami.edu
305-421-4704
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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