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lunes, 21 de junio de 2010

Oil Spill on Track to Reach Atlantic No Later Than October

BOULDER, Colorado — Oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon site in the Gulf of Mexico will reach the Atlantic Ocean within six months, says oceanographer Synte Peacock. Exactly when is all down to an eddy that broke off of the infamous Loop Current southwest of Florida on June 12.

sciencenewsPeacock, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, usually studies how the ocean’s water absorbs atmospheric gases. But after the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded April 20, she realized her computer models could be used to follow where the oil gushing from the seafloor might end up.

Her simulations, announced in a press release June 3, made headlines worldwide. No surprise: The simulations suggested that, once the oil became caught up in the Loop Current, it would be funneled into the Atlantic within weeks.

Talking with reporters at NCAR on June 14, Peacock explained how some news outlets misrepresented her work by glossing over a few major caveats. Most important, the work simulated the movement of dye (not viscous oil) injected in the upper layers of the ocean (not the deep seafloor) for a total of two months (not the ongoing no-end-in-sight disaster).

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