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Hurricane + Oil Spill = ?

by rockhouse
Tags: hurricane, spill
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rockhouse
#1
May25-10, 03:03 PM
P: 42
What would happen if a hurricane swept through the gulf over the area of the spill? How would the oil effect water temp., which contributes to hurricane strength?
Would a hurricane pick-up and disperse the oil inland if it made land-fall?...or would a hurricane basically spread the oil out so far and thin that it would be harmless?
What if lightning struck the oil? What if the oil was carried inland and dropped onto farmland?
Anyone know?
thanks.
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matthyaouw
#2
May26-10, 10:36 AM
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As I understand it hurricane strength is in part due to the amount of water evaporation that occurs which is largely determined by water temperature. It has been hypothesised that spreading a film of biodegradable oil over the sea's surface could prevent or at least weaken hurricanes as it will severely limit the amount of evaporation that occurs. So there could be a silver lining to this spill.

No references or links unfortunately, just hazy memories of lectures long ago.
Evo
#3
May26-10, 11:05 AM
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Quote Quote by rockhouse View Post
Would a hurricane pick-up and disperse the oil inland if it made land-fall?...or would a hurricane basically spread the oil out so far and thin that it would be harmless?
What if lightning struck the oil? What if the oil was carried inland and dropped onto farmland?
Anyone know?
thanks.
Hurricanes do not suck things up into the air, that's a tornado.

rockhouse
#4
May26-10, 01:13 PM
P: 42
Hurricane + Oil Spill = ?

Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Hurricanes do not suck things up into the air, that's a tornado.
Really? Crazy! I thought they could suck water up into the air drafts.
Evo
#5
May26-10, 01:30 PM
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Quote Quote by rockhouse View Post
Really? Crazy! I thought they could suck water up into the air drafts.
Hurricanes can spawn tornadoes.
mgb_phys
#6
May26-10, 02:37 PM
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It's the evaporation of warm sea water and it's condensation as it rises that releases the energy to power a hurricane.
So although they don;t suck up things (as evo said) it is still ultimately rising water that created them.

There have been a few proposals to prevent hurricanes forming by cooling the surface sea water by pumping up cold deeper water (some saner than others).
The area of the oil slick is probably too small to have any significant effect on a hurricane forming and the slick is pretty close to land - by the time a hurricane gets that near to shore it has all the energy it needs.

There might be an small steering effect if the evaporation above the slick is smaller. Hopefully not or there will be a demand to release oil into the gulf every summer to divert hurricanes !!!
turbo
#7
May26-10, 04:21 PM
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Big slick close to land, who knows how much partially-dispersed stuff (oil and dispersants) under the surface - a storm-surge from a decent-size hurricane could make a real mess.
rockhouse
#8
May28-10, 01:17 PM
P: 42
So waterspouts don't suck water up? What happens if waterspouts collide with hurricanes?

I'm sorry but it really does seem like oil particles will be carried inland by hurricanes....but how many, and to what extent is anybodies guess.
Ivan Seeking
#9
May28-10, 06:35 PM
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Surely a great deal of oil would be atomized in sea spray and carried by the wind, in the event of a large storm.

In order to get an idea of where the oil might go due to storms, it might be useful to compare storm surge maps, with maps of the most productive wetlands. You can select by location and storm category, at the link below the image.

For example

http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/LAMSALSurge.asp
Ivan Seeking
#10
May28-10, 06:43 PM
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One can watch for the storm trigger, by watching the temps from the NW coast of Africa, over and up into the Gulf of Mexico. Once the sea temps get up into the eighties, the storm activity should start. Consistent with the indicated water temps, hurricane season starts next Tuesday.


http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/
Evo
#11
May28-10, 07:04 PM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
Surely a great deal of oil would be atomized in sea spray and carried by the wind, in the event of a large storm.

In order to get an idea of where the oil might go due to storms, it might be useful to compare storm surge maps, with maps of the most productive wetlands. You can select by location and storm category, at the link below the image.

For example

http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/LAMSALSurge.asp
This is for a hurricane hitting LA? I lived on the Gulf for 29 years and rode out a couple of hurricanes, one was a Cat 5, the waves that come in do not go far inland at all, we're talking yards in most cases. The rest of the water is from rain.

If it hit really low wetlands, not sure what would happen. Remember the hurricane is circular, and you have to take into consideration which direction it is coming from, hurricanes can behave very erratically. I think there are no calculations for sea spray since it has never really been an issue.
WhoWee
#12
May28-10, 07:39 PM
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Quote Quote by mgb_phys View Post
There might be an small steering effect if the evaporation above the slick is smaller. Hopefully not or there will be a demand to release oil into the gulf every summer to divert hurricanes !!!
That sounds about right.
Borek
#13
May29-10, 04:12 AM
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I think storm can be to some extent beneficial, as it disperses the oil and aerates water, making it easier to degrade hydrocarbons.
ViewsofMars
#14
Jun8-10, 01:41 AM
P: 463
In response to the OP.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
NOAA’s Oil Spill Response
Hurricanes and the Oil Spill

What will happen to a hurricane that runs through
this oil slick?
• Most hurricanes span an enormous area of the
ocean (200-300 miles) — far wider than the
current size of the spill.
• If the slick remains small in comparison to a
typical hurricane’s general environment and size,
the anticipated impact on the hurricane would
be minimal.
• The oil is not expected to appreciably affect either
the intensity or the track of a fully developed
tropical storm or hurricane.
• The oil slick would have little effect on the storm
surge or near-shore wave heights.

What will the hurricane do to the oil slick in
the Gulf?
• The high winds and seas will mix and “weather”
the oil which can help accelerate the
biodegradation process.
• The high winds may distribute oil over a wider
area, but it is difficult to model exactly where the
oil may be transported.
• Movement of oil would depend greatly on the
track of the hurricane.
• Storms’ surges may carry oil into the coastline
and inland as far as the surge reaches. Debris
resulting from the hurricane may be contaminated
by oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident, but
also from other oil releases that may occur during
the storm.
• A hurricane’s winds rotate counter-clockwise.
Thus, in VERY GENERAL TERMS:
o A hurricane passing to the west of the oil slick
could drive oil to the coast.
o A hurricane passing to the east of the slick
could drive the oil away from the coast.
o However, the details of the evolution of the
storm, the track, the wind speed, the size, the
forward motion and the intensity are all
unknowns at this point and may alter this
general statement.
[Please read on . . .]
http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse....lls.572167.pdf
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/site/2931/


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