General Question

Strauss's avatar

Oil spill and hurricanes: The Atlantic hurricane season started June 1st. Which of the following scenarios do you think is most likely?

Asked by Strauss (20487points) June 2nd, 2010

Weather forecasters (such as The Tropical Meteorology Project, as well as others) have predicted a stronger than average hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin, including the Gulf of Mexico. There is a 51% statistical probability for at least one major (category 3, 4, or 5) hurricane landfall on the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville, compared to an average for the last century of 30%. Here are several scenarios I have heard as possibilities:

Scenario 1: Expensive seafood for several years.
A major category hurricane roars through the Gulf in the area of the spill. Since the much of the oil is floating on the surface of the water, it is pulled into the storm as an aerosol and dispersed along the coastal beaches, swamps and bayous, virtually eliminating the national and international supply of Gulf seafood for several years.

Scenario 2. Disperse! Disperse!
The chemical dispersants used to hide the spill are so effective that microscopic droplets of the dispersant/petroleum combination eventually cover all the earth’s oceans, affecting the marine microbiology, and therefore the total food chain.

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8 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

I think both are very likely except the part where a hurricane would be oil would be pulled into the storm as an aerosol and dispersed. The hurricane center has a nice FAQ on this matter here…
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/hurricanes_oil_factsheet.pdf

My sister is in the Hurricane Hunters and flew with congressman over the slick last week and was shocked by what she saw and feels the size of the spill and slick is being grossly under reported. IMO we should be preparing for a worst case scenario for many years to come.

Seek's avatar

I say Scenario One, with an added “Get the f*k out of Florida.”

Can we say “bye bye, tourism dollars!”?

If a hurricane shows up in the mid-Gulf, all of Western Florida is going to be veritably coated in oil. There goes Clearwater Beach, St. Pete beach, Naples, Fort Myers… all of the Top 10 beaches in Florida are going to be fucking toast. You can forget about all the Port of Tampa cruises to Mexico and the Carribbean – who’s going to cruise in that soup? Cost of living is going to skyrocket, and jobs are going to be even more scarce than they already are – and we’re already at 13% unemployment.

Where’s BP going to be to clean up THAT mess?

CMaz's avatar

Scenario 3:

Mexico will get all of it. Seafood prices will not change.

Nullo's avatar

I once read about a hurricane-control idea that involved spraying the ocean with droplets of oil (something to do with heat retention), presumed to result in very mild storms. This may be a big step forward in climate control.

Can water even evaporate through the oily ocean surface?

judochop's avatar

Can’t we just make all of BP stand around in a large perimeter with an oil net to catch all the flying debris?
This spill certainly is saddening. And we have not yet seen the worst of it.

majorrich's avatar

The guy on the weather channel said the temperature of the Gulf is much higher than usual. May result in more intense storms. Perhaps enough to disperse some of the oil? He also mentioned lots of oil naturally seeps from the ocean floor, this just happens to be all channeling from the one pipe. I didn’t completely follow him on that point as I was eating, but it was an aside comment. The main part was the Oil isn’t going to affect the Hurricanes, His exact words were “The Storm won’t care”

Seek's avatar

The question isn’t whether the oil will contribute to a storm, it’s what the storm will do with the oil. If the oil reaches the Florida coast, a 10 foot storm surge could coat half of Pinellas County with a nice smear of crude. I’m sure everyone’s homeowner’s insurance company would love to pay those damages.

majorrich's avatar

Ewww. If it were me, I think I would be talking to my insurance man to make sure there was at least a rider for that exact eventuality. Sounds like I could send my oilskin coat down to hang in the storm to get re-coated. The problem would be keeping it from escaping in the wind.

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