Oceanographic Conditions in the Gulf of Mexico in July 2010 During the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

January 04, 2014

In situ and satellite observations were used to assess 3D circulation of the Gulf of Mexico in July 2010 following the Deepwater Horizon platform explosion.

Circulation in the Gulf of Mexico is dominated by mesoscale features that include the Loop Current, Loop Current Rings, and smaller frontal eddies. During May to June 2010, while oil was still flowing from the Macondo well following the Deepwater Horizon platform explosion on April 20, 2010, drifter trajectories, satellite observations, and numerical simulations indicated a potential for direct connectivity between the northern Gulf and the Florida Straits via the Loop Current system. This pathway could have potentially entrained particles, including northern Gulf of Mexico contaminants related to the oil spill, carrying them directly towards the coastal ecosystems of south Florida and northern Cuba. To assess this connectivity, and to evaluate the potential oil impacts on economically important Gulf of Mexico fisheries, an interdisciplinary shipboard survey was conducted in the eastern Gulf during July 2010. 

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R.H. Smith, E.M. Johns, G.J. Goni, J. Trinanes, R. Lumpkin, A.M. Wood, C.R. Kelble, S.R. Cummings, J.T. Lamkin, S. PrivoznikOceanographic Conditions in the Gulf of Mexico in July 2010 During the Deepwater Horizon Oil SpillPublished in Continental Shelf Research. 2014.

Last updated by Southeast Fisheries Science Center on 02/26/2019

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill