Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

Hurricanes and the Gulf Oil Slick

*Note about the illustration (above) at the end of this posting.

The effect of a hurricane (or hurricanes) upon the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has countless people concerned. Also, some have wondered how the oil might effect a hurricane. NOAA addresses both topics in the following recent publication (PDF format) answering the following questions:

What will the hurricane do to the oil slick in the Gulf?

What will happen to a hurricane that runs through this oil slick?

Here is a link to the PDF file from NOAA.

hurricane fact sheet_Layout 1

Initially, I had planned to write on the subject myself, sharing my “notions” about interrelationships between the spill and hurricanes. However, I recently read the splendid treatment on the subject by Dr. Jeff Masters and it was clear to me that I’d simply be repeating, in one way or another, much of what he had written – and doubtfully as comprehensively. Rather than walk that thin line between “being a bystander who conveys the ideas of another” and “plagarism”, I’ll simply link you to his recent work published in the WeatherUnderground website. It is in two parts:

What would a hurricane do to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?

How oil might affect a hurricane .

More links:

*With apologies to Katsushika Hokusai and the gigantic number of people who admire his work – I took the liberty to be creative late this afternoon with his most famous work, The Great Wave off KanagawaThough this does not depict the Gulf of Mexico near whose shores Fuji would most certainly appear out of place, it seems fitting that such a strange and wild fantasy scenario is no less shocking than what has really happened in the Gulf of Mexico.  As I was painting the dark gray matter upon the modern water I was thinking “oil.”  But if you interpreted it to be floating pumice ash or something akin to that – it makes our present situation even more sad because at least a volcanic eruption is a natural event.

In my opinion this ongoing oil spill was triggered by mans’ stupidity, laziness, greed, incompetence, and failure to seriously address our need for clean and relatively safe sources of energy.  I feel strongly that we should have addressed the crisis years ago, at least by the mid-70’s, with as much vigor and determination as we addressed the attack upon Pearl Harbor.  I feel that we should focus upon geothermal energy as our principle source – utilizing heat beneath us to flash water into steam to turn turbines connected to generators making electricity.  We could then use much of that electricity to disassociate water into hydrogen and oxygen.  Hydrogen should be our fuel used to propel us from place to place.  It burns cleanly and it does not pollute.  Hot rock is everywhere beneath us – close in some places and deeper in others.  Our oil drillers would have plenty of work to keep them busy.  Try a search of “geothermal energy” and see what you find.





Today, June 1, 2010, marks the official beginning of the northern hemisphere’s Atlantic Hurricane Season. The season is 6 months long, ending at the end of November 30. However, hurricanes can occur outside that officially designated season.

I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to family and friends of the 11 workers who died in the April 20 oil drilling rig explosion and hope for a quick recovery for those 17 who were injured.  Sadly, before this is “over” there are likely to be even more casualties.

You have probably been hearing and reading a lot lately about the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current due to the resultant, catastrophic, ongoing crude oil discharge from the sea floor into the Gulf’s waters. The Loop has been described as a potential transporter of much of that oil around the Florida Keys and on up the East Coast of the United States (and even potentially further). The Loop is but a segment of the huge North Atlantic Gyre (sometimes called the Gulf-stream Gyre) and is an essential element in the process whereby heat energy is exchanged between the low latitudes and the higher latitudes. Without it, our climates would be far more severe on both ends of the thermal spectrum.

So – though I wish to emphasize that the Loop in-of-itself is not a bad thing, it has recently been portrayed that way because of its potential to spread the hazardous oil far beyond its source. Furthermore, when it comes to hurricanes, there have been clear examples of hurricane intensification while moving over the Loop. Recent examples are hurricanes Katrina and Rita, both in 2005. Katrina’s movement over the Loop is graphically illustrated above.

If you wish to read a bit more about hurricane intensification from warm water surfaces go to the following link from 2008 in which I am discussing hurricane Gustav.

I doubt it’s news to you that this season is predicted to be more active than usual. I won’t add to the myriad words on this subject already made available on-line within the last few days but here is a link to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration page (NOAA) if you want some detail:

It is my great hope that your life is not complicated or endangered by a hurricane or hurricane’s this year or any other year. If you do live in “hurricane territory” I beg you to address preparation now if you have not already. I hope that you have not “caught” the disorder that seems to be epidemic these days, “terminal uniqueness.” Please know – it doesn’t always happen to the “other guy.” Please don’t become a victim because of that misconception. It’s important to realize that if you do have storm problems – assistance is not likely to be quickly and/or efficiently available. You might have to fend for yourself for quite some time. It is not smart to expect “quick response teams” to rush to your aid. If a strong hurricane visits your area it is likely to be a devastating event if you are not prepared. I’ll tell you this: From my experience with hurricane Andrew (1992), it’s tough enough when you are prepared.