Loop Current Should Stay Away from Spill - NOAA

Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

The Loop current that flows through the Gulf of Mexico is not likely to move toward the Macondo oil spill, Platts Oilgram News reported Tuesday quoting a top scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Charlie Henry, an oil spill expert and NOAA's support site coordinator with the U.S. Coast Guard, indicated that he does not expect the approximately 5,000 b/d of oil leaking from Macondo well to enter the current. The Loop current, which flows clockwise and is part of the Gulf Stream, largely governs the movement of water in the Gulf of Mexico. Platts stated that the current travels south of Macondo, which is in Mississippi Canyon Block 252, and that NOAA does not expect the current to move closer to the well site.

Henry explained that "strong" northern cold fronts appear with extended winds this time of year, reducing the potential for the oil slick to connect with the Loop current.

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Satellite view of Horizon Fire (Apr 21) Horizon's Sister, Nautilus, Transported via Heavy Lift Vessel Macondo Oil Slick (May 1) Deepwater Horizon on Fire (Apr 21)
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