The National Center for Atmospheric Research has put together computer models that show the slick from theDeepwater Horizon leak reaching the East Coast and well into the Central Atlantic by Labor Day.
The simulation takes the projection out until the 132nd day after the leak began. The leak began 45 days ago.
The computer simulations indicate that, once the oil in the uppermost ocean has become entrained in the Gulf of Mexico’s fast-moving Loop Current, it is likely to reach Florida’s Atlantic coast within weeks. It can then move north as far as about Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with the Gulf Stream, before turning east. Whether the oil will be a thin film on the surface or mostly subsurface due to mixing in the uppermost region of the ocean is not known.
The federal government and BP have made no official estimates of the trajectory of the slick beyond their current 72-hour projections. NOAA ought to. It would allow some degree of preparation for those likely to be effected.