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A question for OzWeatherman

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posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 09:10 PM
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I consider Ozweatherman a voice of reason, science, sense and even temperament at these boards, and so I have a question that hopefully he can elucidate for me and others at this board because of his expertise in earth sciences.
As someone who lives in close proximity to this BP quagmire, and since hurricance season is right around the corner I was hoping you could provide some insight to us about how this massive oil gusher might interact with a hurricane that might develop around this massive spill.

I realize that if a hurricane converges with the area of the spill, massive amounts of oil might be deposited inland via storm surge, and I suspect that the oil WILL NOT recede with the water. But what other interactions might occur?

Can a storm system actually lift the oil from the sea, mix with the storm system in the atmosphere and fall back to Earth as oily rain? In what ways could a perfect convergence of a massive storm and this massive oil slick reek havoc on land?

[edit on 6-6-2010 by Threadfall]




posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 09:16 PM
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Oil’s Effect on Hurricanes – A Case of the Tail Wagging the Dog?

Hurricanes are born over warm ocean waters. This warmth provides the fuel required to initiate and maintain a hurricane’s wind circulation, and a hurricane will begin dissipating as soon as it is cut off from warm waters. In turn, the effects of a hurricane are also felt by the ocean: winds whip up huge waves that make for dangerous marine and coastal conditions. These contribute to storm surge and flooding at the coast. Indeed, they stir the ocean so much that cooler water from below rises to the surface leaving behind the relatively cool traces of hurricane tracks, which remain visible for days afterwards in thermal satellite imagery. Given all of these factors, a change to the ocean’s surface as significant as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico raises a variety of questions about hurricanes. Will the hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico be different now that oil has surfaced and begun spreading? In particular, will the oil on the surface affect individual storms as they approach the area?

There are two possible ways that an oil slick might directly affect hurricanes: through changes to the initial hurricane formation or through changes to a hurricane that has already formed. Both processes result from the tendency that oil would have to cut the atmosphere off from the underlying ocean. Crude oil is light and floats in water, then tends to spread out. A surface covered with oil would prevent water from evaporating. In addition, because oil is more viscous than water, it does not easily form ripples when the wind blows. Ripples represent the first stage in the development of high seas, which later contribute to storm surge, ocean swell, and high surf.

What are the chances that the Gulf oil spill will form a blanket over the ocean surface, cutting off evaporation and preventing hurricane formation? In reality, the effect is likely to be minimal. The current spill, while historic in extent, covers just a small portion (indee about 3%) of the Gulf.4 If a group of thunderstorms that might otherwise grow into a hurricane did happen to pass directly over the spill, development could theoretically stall as storm cells are cut off from the water surface. But even much of the spill area remains patchy.5

A possible opposite effect to the one described above relies on the possibility that the oil slick will actually further heat the already warm waters in the area, since the black oil will absorb sunlight and will also serve to prevent evaporative cooling to balance the solar heating.6 Under this scenario, the warmer surface could actually encourage hurricane formation once the oil disperses and evaporation begins again, although the total additional warming is likely to be quite small.

The oil, which is gushing out of the well a mile below the surface, is mixing with chemical dispersants and water. What arrives at the surface is fundamentally different from crude oil spilled from a tanker. This warm dilute mixture could still contribute to evaporation—and storm development. Any retarding effect would be only on weak thunderstorms; a storm that has already developed gale force winds would churn the ocean so much that the oil would have little effect.

Similarly, if an already-developed storm passed over the spill, the effects of the oil would likely be minimal. The winds even at the edge of the storm would easily whip the seas into such a frenzy that the oil would mix with the ocean below, exposing enough water to the surface that evaporation could take place and continue supplying fuel to the storm.

Thus, in the end, while possible effects of this oil spill on a tropical storm or on the hurricane season overall is an interesting question, the implications are in fact small. Far more important are the effects that a hurricane would have on the spilled oil and surrounding region.

MORE INFO HERE



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 09:21 PM
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reply to post by Threadfall
 
Word of advice: Just u2u him! You don't have to make a whole thread just to ask an individual a question.



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 09:21 PM
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reply to post by Threadfall
 


Some good information here:

Hurricane, Oil Spill Could Be Troubling Mix

Of course Oz can chime in if he wishes to ... however it should be noted:


Nobody knows for sure, though, because there's no record of a hurricane ever crossing paths with a large oil spill.



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 09:22 PM
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It's rained fish, frogs, acid etc before, so why not oil?

g


www.theepochtimes.com...



[edit on 6-6-2010 by grantbeed]



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 09:32 PM
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I look at it like this:

You know how they keep telling us that the chemicals they bombard us with are at such a low parts per million that they are not high enough levels to harm us?

Well if they are right, who knows, a hurricane should spread the oil out into such a large area that it would dilute it enough to help a little.

However, I am more concerned with the dispersants than the oil and hope that a large storm could help dilute some of this stuff.

That is if they get it capped and it is not going to spread the constant flow of oil into a larger area.

I am amazed they have not been able to stop it and skim more of it up after all this time.



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 09:42 PM
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I think this is a great thread, and a great question.

OZ, give us some "meteorological" science, so that we don't delve into paranoid delusions about what might happen.

Give us the science.



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 09:49 PM
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reply to post by Stewie
 


Considering science is based mainly on research and (as pointed out) this has never happened in the past, I dont see how anyone can reasonably predict what would happen...



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 09:49 PM
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Originally posted by Stewie
I think this is a great thread, and a great question.

OZ, give us some "meteorological" science, so that we don't delve into paranoid delusions about what might happen.

Give us the science.


Hey Stewie.....

Be careful of those "paranoid delusions" mate!


Kind regards
Maybe...maybe not



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 09:52 PM
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reply to post by Threadfall
 


Threadfall.....

Thank you for addressing this interesting question to OzWeatherman.

I will be very interested to read his commentary.

Just for interest's sake.....

My GUESS is that not much different will happen because of the oil, if a hurricane hits that area.

Kind regards
Maybe...maybe not



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 09:57 PM
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reply to post by virgom129
 

Surely a supreme knowledge of climate, the kind of knowledge that can explain EVERY observable phenomena...

can predict the outcome of oil and dispersants on a grand scale upon our climate. After all, it IS only science.

Or, we can wait and hear the explanation of WHAT happened, after the fact.



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 10:03 PM
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Well, I dont think it will have that much impact overall. There really hasnt been much study on the effects of oil spills on meteorology. I think because the oil is covering the water, that there may be an effect on the amount of evaporation. What this means, is there is less water being heated from the ocean, meaning there may be a lack or reduction in cloud cover. Most hurricanes that occur here form out in the Atlantic, so I dont think that the frequency of them will be affected in any way. I guess its more of a wait and see what happens scenario to wether it affect the track of the hurricanes, but my guess is that its unlikely that the oil will do this. However, I think that some of the oil will either be dispersed, or moved closer to the coast with tidal surges associated with these storms

I think there will be eventually some parts of the oil that will get into the air, as the heating from the sun slowly breask down the oil, but I dont think this will happen over a short period.



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 10:06 PM
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I'd like to chime in, as I received a reply from the horses mouth more or less, at your leisure, please see this thread:

Florida Division of Emergency Management's reply to my email. Spill, Unseen Plumes, & Hurricanes

ETA: also, if you would like to indulge Hurricane Watch 2010

Which was Applauded by OzWeatherman if I may toot my own horn


[edit on 6/6/2010 by UberL33t]



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 10:07 PM
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reply to post by OzWeatherman
 

Well, that is a very rational response.





posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 10:52 PM
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reply to post by OzWeatherman
 


Could a large storm system take this albeit large, but relatively contained and cohesive slick and spread it out across vast areas of the sea--even outside the gulf altogether and into the Atlantic?

I live in Texas and so far the oil catastrophe seems to be moving east and avoiding our coast and the Mexican coast; what variables need to come together that could make this a disaster for the western gulf if any?



posted on Jun, 7 2010 @ 12:27 AM
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If and I say if , the oil is picked up in such conditions that it is dumped or rains down over the mainland , it will cover fields ,woodlands, lawns , house rooves etc . There would be every chance of lightening igniting fires and burning every thing in it's path .I am very familiar with large forest and grass fires from lightening where I reside .I would hate to imagine oil adding fuel to a scenario like that .My 2 cents less hyperinflation and taxes . Great now I have nothing left



posted on Jun, 7 2010 @ 01:20 AM
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The only way that I can see oil being lifted into the atmosphere so that it falls out as 'oily rain' is if it's lifted by a tornado. Don't know how common waterspouts are in the area of the gulf where the slick is densest but I think it's fairly unlikely to happen and would in any case be a small localised event.

Whether the oil slick will affect the water temperature and the ability of a hurricane moving into the Gulf to increase in strength I don't know.

The main concern I would think would be an oily storm surge - which does sound rather messy.




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