ROFFS Oil Tracking Shows BP Gulf Oil Spill Traveling Up Entire East Coast Of Florida

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I recently wrote that oil from the BP Gulf Oil Spill may be as far north as North Carolina based on satellite data and reports of oil off the Florida keys reported June 9th by a University of South Florida professor.

The Federal Government however appears to be complacent with continuing to hide the location of the spill from the public.

The misleading of the public about the safety of public beaches and the location of the oil is even causing an uproar by local Florida residents.

The Jacksonville Business Journal Reports that NOAA claims the Florida Keys and South Florida may escape the BP Gulf Oil Spill:

Oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico now appears less certain to slime the Florida Keys and South Florida.

About a month after the BP PLC spill disaster began on April 20, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that a portion of the oil in the Gulf of Mexico had reached the Loop Current, which could bring it across the Florida Keys and to South Florida.

On Monday, however, NOAA stopped producing trajectory maps on its website that showed oil entering the Loop Current.

“The offshore trajectory maps … have been temporarily suspended because the northern end of the Loop Current has been pinched off into a large eddy (Eddy Franklin) so there is no clear path for oil to enter the Loop Current from the source,” a NOAA news release said. “Also, there have been no reports of recoverable oil in the Loop Current or Eddy Franklin, and the oil has moved to the north and away from the Eddy Franklin.”

NOAA said it would resume producing trajectory maps when the threat to the Keys increases. Meanwhile, the agency said it would continue to monitor the threat with aerial surveillance, vessel surveillance and satellites.

As in previous cases where independent monitoring of the BP Gulf Oil Spill has shown oil out side of the areas officially reported by NOAA it appears that this is the case once again.

Take for example the ROFFS project which uses a combination of methods to monitor the spread of the BP Gulf Oil Spill.

ROFFS™ Oil Oceanographic Analyses we have been monitoring the surface, as well as the suspected and apparent subsurface oil-water-dispersant mixture from satellite data derived from NOAA_AVHRR and Metop_A – AVHRR (infrared), MODIS (infrared, ocean color, and RGB) and MERIS (ocean color and visible) sensors, as well as synthetic aperture radar (SAR) with a variety of resolutions and spectra). We also use on-site reports from fishermen, other vessels of opportunity, and researchers (academic and government). We track the water-oil-dispersant mixture that originated from the Deepwater Horizon well site from the first day of the spill by following the water masses that originated from the spill site.

Time and again ROFFS monitoring has shown oil outside of Government reported locations and the project continues to do a much better job of tracking the BP Gulf Oil Spill than the Federal Government in hopes they will be awarded a contract to monitor the spill.

The RV Walton Smith also found oil where we had suggested it would likely to occur during the June 5-9, 2010 cruise. This was oil that had not been mapped on any official government product that were publically available and in a location where we believed that there would be a mixture of oil, dispersants, and water. From the forgoing information we feel that our techniques in following water masses using our sequential image analysis technique have been validated for tracking the water masses originating from the Deepwater Horizon spill site, as well as, mapping surface oil. These are some of the same techniques that we have been using for years in our fishing forecasting and our ship routing business.

The latest ROFFS latest tracking map, released on June 22nd, shows oil extending into the Florida keys and has marked a possible water oil mixture (WOM) extending up the entire east coast of Florida.

On June 23rd, a day after ROFFS released the June 22nd map, the Dean of the University of South Florida confirmed concentrations of oil off the coast of Jacksonville Florida where ROFFS tracking indicated a possible water oil mixture.

Since the confirmed and possible WOM locations aren’t immediately clear the WOM locations are marked here here in blue.

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Here is the original ROFFS BP Gulf Oil Spill Tracking Map for June 22, 2010 (Click to view full size)

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UPDATE: ROFFS Confirms Oil Up The Entire East Coast Of Florida

On The June 28th ROFFS Map The Possible Water Oil Mixtures (WOM) Are Now Marked As Confirmed Oil In The Gulf Stream And Up The Entire East Coast Of Florida.


I followed up with ROFFS to discuss the water oil mixtures off the east coast of Florida that extend north beyond Florida to find out how far north the water oil mixture locations extended.

I confirmed that water and oil mixture then does indeed extend to the Florida Keys as shown on the ROFFS map which directly contradicts the statement NOAA has made stating that the Florida Keys and South Florida will be unaffected by the spill.

ROFFS also told me that in addition to the confirmed Jacksonville oil concentration that there are unconfirmed reports of oil in Fort Pierce, Florida which is south of the Jacksonville as well as unconfirmed reports of oil as far north as the Washington D.C and Maryland area.

Here is a transcript of the phone call.

Listen to Conversation With ROFFS About BP Gulf Oil Spill Along East Coast Of Florida

Alex (0:00): I am looking at the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill monitoring.

ROFFS (0:05): Yes.

Alex (0:06): And I noticed that on the right there was a possible oil water mixture going up along the East Coast of Florida and its kind off clipped off so I was wondering if you had, you know, that information available. You know, a little further to the east of Florida and also north, how far north that possible, possibly could be.

ROFFS (0:28): Umm. Could you click on the text portion underneath that map that says the 22nd of June.

Alex (0:35): Ok, underneath of it?

ROFFS (0:36): Yeah, like scroll to the bottom of the map.

Alex (0:37): Um humm.

ROFFS (0:39): And see where it says update 22nd of June. If you click on that it will let you open up the whole thing and in that text, you know the map portion it doesn’t show all of that. But in the text it will give you the information that we had as off that date.

Alex (0:55): OK and that will tell how far north?

ROFFS (1:00): We have not had anything confirmed yet. Mitch actually is up in Washington this week.

Alex (1:08): Well I did read something from a USF, University of South Florida professor, who said that he did confirm that there was oil off of Jacksonville.

ROFFS (1:18): Yes we have heard that through the news feeds. We haven’t updated it since we have gotten that information. I think there doing another update on Tuesday.

Alex (1:27): Ok.

ROFFS (1:29): So when you sign on, go online, the latest one and if you click on that top one up under the map that will give you some text/verbal information about what is going on and what we expect to go on.

Alex (1:45): Ok.

ROFFS (1:46): He’s is out of town so we haven’t done an update since then. So probably Monday or Tuesday we’ll posting another update on there. Even possibly tomorrow, I am not really sure. So then we’ll know more. Right now mitch has been travel for the last couple days so I really don’t know what is going on from ROFFS point of view.

Alex (2:05): Ok, alight, yeah.

ROFFS (2:07): Ok so keep in tune with that. Where are you? Are you in Lousianna or?

Alex (2:13): No I am actually in New Jersey and I have a pretty popular website about this. There is like little to no information about this. This is clearly showing that you have an oil water mixture going at least trough the (Florida) keys.

ROFFS: (2:33): Yes. Yes and actually we actually had gotten some messages as far north as the DC and Maryland area that they where concerned about stuff coming up the east coast. We have heard about Jackonsville and we have also heard some things about Fort Pierce which is south of Jacksonville.

Alex (2:50): Ok.

ROFFS (2:51): So he may when he gets back in town tomorrow night work on getting something else posted on the website but I know by the beginning of the week we definitely have an update.

Alex (2:59) Ok. Alright

ROFFS (3:00) Ok.

Alex (3:01): OK Thank you very much.

ROFFS (3:02): Your Welcome.

Alex (3:03): Bye Bye.

ROFFS (3:04): Bye Bye.

So it appears that possible locations for the oil water mixture on the ROFFS map are not only being confirmed the Dean of the University of South Florida, who found oil off of Jacksonville, but are also being corroborated by multiple “unconfirmed” reports of oil in on other locations along Florida’s east coast.

Those sightings start as far south as Fort Lauderdale, and are reported to continue to Delray Beach, Fl and Hillsboro Beach, FL and then continue to continues to Palm Beach and then further north up along the Florida coast to the Fort Pierce Florida sighting represented by the ROFFS representative.

Another point about ROFFS not being able to confirm the Fort Pierce oil report is that BP has denied USF requests to confirm oil they found in the Gulf Stream in the Florida Keys at the beginning of the month was from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Just to put the Jacksonville and Fort Peirce Locations into perspective here is a map.

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Yet the Federal Government hides the fact that the oil is in Florida Keys and has been so since the beginning of the month and is already traveling up the Gulf Stream.

Why Accurate Reporting of the Oil Spill Locations Matter

First and foremost, it is important that the Government provides the public with an accurate representation of the location of the oil because oil is highly toxic and presents a health and safety risk to the public.

Second of all, the information is critical in preparing oil responders to defend their beaches and waterways from the oil.

Finally fish and other seafood caught in oil affected areas will tainted by oil and dispersants which presents another health and safety risk.

It should not matter if the oil in the Loop Current is recoverable or not, NOAA and the Federal Government needs to continue to track it and provided the public with ACCURATE information about the location of the oil to help prevent toxic seafood from being sold to the public.

Note I say accurate as I once again beat the drum about NOAA disservicing the public by misreporting the location of the spill.

NOAA’s reported observed area of the slick
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  • NOAA Forecasted Area for June 22nd
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    The ROFFS map clearly shows oil not only throughout the Gulf Stream but beyond the location of the current NOAA map.
  • NOAA Fishery Closure Last Updated on June 23rd2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While ROFFS Shows More Affected Than NOAA Map The Fishery Closure Area Doesn’t Even Cover NOAA’s OWN Map

 

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Watch the fishing exclusion zone combined with a satellite overlay of Florida

Its nice to know that our Federal Government is making sure that public is safe by assuring the public it is safe to swim in waters polluted with oil and neurotoxin pesticides and allowing fishing and seafood harvests to occur in those same waters.

But don’t worry the government will make sure there is no oil or dispersants in the seafood by putting it through a smell test, literally.

Seriously, they are testing seafood for contamination by smelling it.

Watch Rachel Maddow report on the Government smell test

What Pensacola Beach Really Looks Like. You won’t see this on Mainstream Media

Explanation of the ROFFS™ Oil Oceanographic Analyses Efforts.

We started providing our analyses as a civic duty to educate and warn the public (Gulf of Mexico region, southern and eastern coast of Florida, Cuba and Bahamas) how the oil would travel and affect the offshore and coastal areas. We also wanted to demonstrate the utility of satellite remote sensing for operational and research needs. We have effectively done this. We now understand the economic an social magnitude of the oil spill and are continuing our work on a daily basis. Not all of our analyses available to the public at this time. However, we plan on providing a public analysis once a week until we can not afford to continue.

In our ROFFS™ Oil Oceanographic Analyses we have been monitoring the surface, as well as the suspected and apparent subsurface oil-water-dispersant mixture from satellite data derived from NOAA_AVHRR and Metop_A – AVHRR (infrared), MODIS (infrared, ocean color, and RGB) and MERIS (ocean color and visible) sensors, as well as synthetic aperture radar (SAR) with a variety of resolutions and spectra). We also use on-site reports from fishermen, other vessels of opportunity, and researchers (academic and government). We track the water-oil-dispersant mixture that originated from the Deepwater Horizon well site from the first day of the spill by following the water masses that originated from the spill site. We felt that this oil-water-dispersant mixture would form undersea plumes as per the National Research Council’s report and my experience with oil spills in NY as a graduate student. I was on the Nassau County Department of Health Oil Strike Team which investigated oil spills.

With the Deepwater Horizon oil spill we wanted to track the surface oil, as well as, any subsurface oil-dispersant mixture. When the oil spill first started in April, 2010 we observed that there was a cooler water surface signature in the infrared satellite data that we were able to follow from satellite image to satellite image. We continued to follow the relatively cooler water masses as they spread from the spill site image by image, day by day. Knowing and acknowledging that we were uncertain of what was in these water masses. We followed one water mass from the spill site to the forming cyclonic (counter-clockwise circulation) eddy west of Tampa. On May 15, 2010 we received a SAR image that showed a surface signature of oil in the location where we had been following one of these water masses. Since May 15th we have seen the surface signature of the subsurface oil-water mixture in SAR imagery that most likely resulted from upwelling. This happened first along the eastern side of the Loop Current eddy “Franklin” when it was forming and in the eddy located southwest of Tampa (June 11, 2010). In addition, the RV Walton Smith provided verification that oil (globs, tar balls, and sheen) was in the water in the eddy southwest of Tampa. At other times during the last two months we have received verification of oil being in the water column and at the surface from research colleagues at the University of Southern Mississippi (Dr. Jim Franks), our clients fishing west of Tampa, and other clients off Destin, FL.

The RV Walton Smith also found oil where we had suggested it would likely to occur during the June 5-9, 2010 cruise. This was oil that had not been mapped on any official government product that were publically available and in a location where we believed that there would be a mixture of oil, dispersants, and water. From the forgoing information we feel that our techniques in following water masses using our sequential image analysis technique have been validated for tracking the water masses originating from the Deepwater Horizon spill site, as well as, mapping surface oil. These are some of the same techniques that we have been using for years in our fishing forecasting and our ship routing business.

We are using a substantial number of U.S. NOAA (NOAA_15, 16, 17, 18, 19) and NASA (Aqua and Terra) and European (ESA) satellites (ENVISAT and Metop_A) with a variety of spectral (infrared, near infra-red, visible, RGB and synthetic aperture radar) and spatial resolutions (75 meters to 1 KM) to see the oil and follow the water masses associated with the spill. The MODIS satellite data are being received from the University of South Florida IMaRS and the synthetic radar (SAR) imagery is being received from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the CSTARS at the University of Miami. We have received SAR imagery from the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The remainder of the imagery (NOAA, Metop_A) and ENVISAT MERIS and SAR are being downloaded from a variety of data servers. We are capable of downloading the MODIS data from NASA, but due to the 6-8 hour time delay of the data from their servers we prefer to use the University of South Florida IMaRS data server. We manipulate and integrate these data at ROFFS™ and the analyses are ROFFS™ expert interpretations of the satellite imagery integrated with other data such as winds, sea surface temperature (sst) from buoys, currents from drifting buoys (from NOAA_AOML and Horizon Marine) and acoustic doppler current profilers from ships and oil platforms (when occupied and working), as well as, in-situ reports. We routinely discuss our results with oceanographers from industry, academia and government. We use a plethora of techniques to remove or reduce the effect of clouds (e.g. making composites and mosaics), effects of satellite angle (re-navigation of each image), and the effects atmosphere interference (e.g. re-calibrate the infrared imagery from ocean buoys and ships of opportunity), to manipulate the satellite data to understand the ocean circulation patterns associated with the oil’s motion. We have many years of experience conducting similar analyses. For example we mapped the plume coming from the New Orleans area after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (http://www.roffs.com/katrina.htm).

The ROFFS™ analysis is composed of a text and graphic. The text is a description of the overall ocean circulation and focuses on the significant flow fields in the area of interest (e.g. eastern Gulf of Mexico). It includes a discussion of the distribution of the oil and likely short-term movements, as well as, other pertinent information including validation evidence. The graphic is an ocean frontal analysis derived primarily from infrared and ocean color satellite data. The background is usually the best short-term infrared image that we derive using a variety of iterative procedures. A color sst palette is included. The graphic shows a navigation gridlines in latitude – longitude coordinates and a coastal outline. Often important bottom topographic features are included. We only include the significant water mass boundary features which we have learned are important in understanding the flow field, sst gradients, and convergence zones. Overlaid are shapes that are manually drawn that outline the area of the surface oil derived from SAR, RGB, and other visible image products. The outlines are filled with a distinct color usually olive green. Surface areas of water masses that we have been able to track continuously from the Deepwater Horizon spill are also outlined and shaded in another distinct color. Arrows showing the direction (not speed) are included, as are labels of important oceanographic features (e.g., major currents and eddies). The analyses can be sent either as a combined graphic and text in an Adobe™ PDF format, or as two separate components (text and graphic).

While we have been conducting these analyses as a civic duty and as an exercise in technology transfer, we would like to be contracted to do this to support cleanup, restoration, and litigation, as well as, ecosystem research efforts. We are looking for financial backers of this effort. Please enquire about this. If you plan to use these reports or derive new products based on this work including the graphics you must give ROFFS™ full credit. ROFFS™ would be appreciative if you would copy this analysis to others who may be interested in our efforts.

 

Categories: BP GULF OIL SPILL

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