Video: Researchers Say Oil Spill May Pass BDA

June 4, 2010

[Updates posted] According to the American organization ‘The National Center for Atmospheric Research’ [NCAR], due to ocean currents oil from the massive disaster in the Gulf of Mexico may pass through the Atlantic Ocean in the general area of Bermuda this summer.

The computer animation below, released yesterday [June 3] by NCAR, shows the oil passing by Bermuda:

I’ve had a lot of people ask me, ‘Will the oil reach Florida?’” says NCAR scientist Synte Peacock, who worked on the study. “Actually, our best knowledge says the scope of this environmental disaster is likely to reach far beyond Florida, with impacts that have yet to be understood.”

The NCAR website reports that the scientists used a powerful computer model to simulate how a liquid released at the spill site would disperse and circulate, producing results that are not dependent on the total amount released. The scientists tracked the rate of dispersal in the top 65 feet of the water and at four additional depths, with the lowest being just above the sea bed.

“The modeling study is analogous to taking a dye and releasing it into water, then watching its pathway,” Ms. Peacock says.

Ms. Peacock and her colleagues stress that the simulations are not a forecast because it is impossible to accurately predict the precise location of the oil weeks or months from now. The model simulations show when the liquid enters the Atlantic’s Gulf Stream it can travel at speeds up to about 100 miles per day, or 3,000 miles per month.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research conducts collaborative research in atmospheric and Earth system sciences, encompassing meteorology and climate, atmospheric chemistry, solar-terrestrial interactions, societal impacts, and more.

The Gulf of Mexico disaster is a massive ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, now considered the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. The spill stems from a sea floor oil gusher that started with an oil well blowout on April 20, 2010, which killed 11 platform workers.

Bermuda based reinsurers have been affected by the Gulf of Mexico explosion and oil spill, with Lancashire, AXIS, PartnerRe, Validus, Montpelier Re and Catlin all said to have exposure from the event.

Update 10:26am: In today’s House of Assembly Environment Minister Glenn Blakeney spoke on the disaster. He began by saying Dr Fred Ming [Director of Environmental Protection] has left Bermuda to attend an emergency meeting in reference to this oil spill. He spoke of two main concerns to Bermuda should the oil reach us; toxicity of oil and tar balls washing up on our beaches. The Minister said there is little risk of fresh oil reaching Bermuda, and said the Government is actively particpating in the international discussion in relation to this disaster and is working within local parameters as well.

Update 11:18am: Also in the House of Assembly, Cole Simons [UBP] thanks Minister Blakeney for the oil spill update, and asks what contingency plan we have. Minister Blakeney says he covered that, and that Dr Ming is presently meeting with others and that is under discussion, says they are actively looking and “digging below the surface” to decide the best plans should this impact the island. Minister Blakeney says we have contingency plans, however points out this is a mass scale spill that the world is having troubles containing. He goes on to point out that BIOS is very well qualified, and they are also looking into it, and the Government have a proactive approach to the oil spill.

Update 1:48pm: We have confirmed that the official Bermuda National Disaster Plan does contain a contingency plan for oil spills.

Update 3:20pm: Full statement from the Minister of the Environment and Sport Glenn Blakeney regarding the Gulf Oil Spill and its possible impact on Bermuda here.

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  1. BorninBermy says:

    I am a young Bermudian, studying Oceanography and Aquaculture in Australia and we have discussed this topic, this oil spill will and probably already has started to affect Bermuda’s waters. The biggest effects are not yet seen, but soon come.

    What I don’t understand is why warnings haven’t been issued to locals about swimming and eating local seafood as regulations will have to be implemented soon.

    Have they not grasped the concept of currents? If currents can move tons of water in a day, what makes them think that the beginnings of this threat havent already reached our coasts? This video shows the process taking months, but only the process of the full effects, what about the minor effects?

    Yet again the people of our country are being lead a stray because or governement values its tourism income more than its citizens safety.