The Sciences

The Hurricane-Oil Slick Story Makes the New York Times

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyMay 31, 2010 7:31 AM

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Kenneth Chang covers the same basic ground as my Slate piece, and comes to the same conclusions. A slick is not going to slow down a storm, but a storm could fling a slick everywhere. Of course, it all depends on the particular path of the storm, etc. Granted, the story becomes more pressing now because of the failure of the "top kill" method of plugging the well. We're on to Plan C now, followed by Plan D, but if they all fail then the relief wells won't be finished (allegedly) til August. That's right when the serious part of hurricane season begins--although, again, if we're in for a mega year like 2005, then you can have an early forming Category 4 (like Dennis) in July. I'm trying to find the bright side in all of this...but I'm really not seeing it. Below, incidentally, is the track of Dennis in 2005. A storm along such a path might actually push oil away from land, given that it would be approaching the nearshore part of slick from the southeast. In this scenario, the winds over the bulk of the slick would (I believe, just by eyeballing it) be blowing back out to sea. That isn't the worst case scenario, but such a storm would also surely shut down all clean up or well plugging efforts....

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