Probability of Shoreline Threat
July 2, 2010 10:53 AM   Subscribe

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have released their latest models/scenarios ("based on several simplifying assumptions") of the BP spill's impact on coastlines

"[The] Florida Keys, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale areas have a greater probability (61%–80%) [for impact] due to the potential influence of the Loop Current." Although "a projected threat to the shoreline does not necessarily mean that oil will come ashore."

posted by griphus (24 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Oh wow, I'm suprised to see Miami and half the east coast of Florida having a high probability of impact. I think these colors were somewhat poorly chosen on the coast map, though.
posted by delmoi at 10:59 AM on July 2, 2010

great. so panama city beach and apalachicola bay are screwed. say goodbye to gulf oysters, seafood fans.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:00 AM on July 2, 2010

Leaving aside the horror, its fascinating to see the way the currents work. I would never have guessed that the eastern coast of Florida is more likely to be contaminated than the western coast.

I also note that no bill requiring that a relief well be drilled simultaneously with the main well has even been introduced in Congress....
posted by sotonohito at 11:05 AM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

Woohoo, tarballs for everyone!

I really cannot wait to see how this summer shapes up, with the predictions for us to get serious hurricane action, and now oil on top of it. If things work out right, no one in Miami will need to put fresh asphalt on their driveways this year.
posted by mkhall at 11:12 AM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

I agree that the colors are poorly chose, the red, orange and yellow are also NOAA's colors for Heavy, Medium and Light Oiling so I assumed they meant the same. Especially in the first graphic where the legend is unreadable.
posted by Duffington at 11:30 AM on July 2, 2010

Is it good news? Tell me it's good news.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:01 PM on July 2, 2010

infinitywaltz: "Is it good news? Tell me it's good news."

...for the insane.
posted by notsnot at 12:13 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]'s not good news, then.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:36 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

This blurb on the graphic describing the oil dispersion forecast is both impossible and a poor way of describing the simulation process used to make the forecast:

This image is a composite of 500 scenarios, only one of which will actually occur.

Are the scenarios variant in weather, oil, or both?

No matter what the variables, none of the scenarios will occur exactly; but some will be close to what actually happens.

Is there a name for this type of simulation that could be used in place of such captions for better descriptive effect?
posted by melatonic at 1:11 PM on July 2, 2010

melatonic, I assume that this means that they used a Monte Carlo simulation with only slightly varying inputs as the iterative impact of small input changes can be extremely large (cf Chaos Theory).
posted by meinvt at 1:35 PM on July 2, 2010

MetaFilter: Leaving aside the horror.
posted by jimmythefish at 2:39 PM on July 2, 2010

Goodbye Orange Beach. Goodbye Gulf Shores. Goodbye Fort Walton. Goodbye Apalachicola. Goodbye PCB. Goodbye Destin. The whole Redneck Riviera. Gone. I'm about four or five hours away from those beaches. Sometimes in high school we'd pile in the car and drive down, watch the sunrise, and drive back. Just because we could, and because we were bored, and because a ten-hour drive is nothing when you're 17 and you have cassette tapes of London Calling and Murmur and a quarter ounce of pot and a car with a sunroof and $20 bucks for gas. My first French kiss happened in the surf somewhere around Gulf Shores. The first time I got stung by a jellyfish was in Destin. The first shark I ever saw was in Choctawhatchee Bay. The first time I got seasick was on a fishing boat out of Gulf Breeze. The first time my dad let me drink whiskey was approximately 15 minutes before that. There's a picture of him somewhere around here that was taken on that boat. He's grinning, sunburnt, probably half in the bag, holding this tiny little ridiculous fish and I'm standing in front of him mugging at the camera like he caught a prize marlin.

BP hasn't just ruined the environment of the Gulf Coast. It's ruined the possibility that people will be able to make memories like the ones I cherish. My wife has never seen the Gulf Coast. She never got to see that snow-white sand. She never got to drink a cold beer with her feet in the warm water and the waitress from the Pink Pony Pub calling her "sweetheart". She never got to eat fried triggerfish fresh off the boat. She never got to sample the grouper and hushpuppies at the bowling alley in Foley.

There are other beaches. And we'll figure out how to clean these. Eventually. And I'll take my wife to the Redneck Riviera, and the Pink Pony Pub will still be there, and the Flora-Bama, and the bowling alley in Foley. But it won't be the same. We'll never undo the damage to the water and the creatures that live in it, and we'll never get that time back.

Fuck you, BP. Fuck you hard, like you fucked us.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:06 PM on July 2, 2010 [12 favorites]

A couple of years ago I found myself trapped in Enterprise, AL over a Sunday with a coworker; we had finished installing some pretty extensive hardware in a chicken plant on Saturday night, and we had to be there very early Monday morning to watch it crank up. And it wasn't worth driving 10 hours each way to go back home for the one day.

Martin is a Brit who came to the US about 20 years ago; he's a formidable technician but crazy as a shithouse rat, and when we woke up that Sunday he said, "Fuck this Rog, we're going to the beach."

So we drove his company truck down to Panama City Beach and found the public beach and bought swimsuits and spent the afternoon letting 3 foot swells sweep us off our feet. The beach was packed with happy laughing people and the water was clear and sweet and I got horribly sunburned but I didn't care. And even though I was born and grew up in New Orleans, somehow it's come to pass that that is the only time I ever bothered to go swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thanks, Martin.
posted by localroger at 4:25 PM on July 2, 2010

At this point I feel small and quite insignificant compared to the spill. My only hope at this point is to keep the oil out of Lake Pontchatrain. If the oil makes it into the lake, I'll sell my boat and GTFO of here.

The length of time it has taken to get certain pieces of equipment pass the EPA is astounding. Keep in mind - those dudes cleaning the beaches in places like Grand Isle with shovels, rakes and garbage bags really is the proverbial dog & pony show until the leak is stopped.

There's a lot of places that I used to fish and trawl (recreational only)and we're wondering how long until that gets back to normal.

It's really sad, kinda painful and somebody should be out of business for this type of disaster.
posted by winks007 at 5:21 PM on July 2, 2010

If I was a prayin' man, I'd be prayin' for death to come for some of those guys at BP. But I'm not a prayin' man.

I'm a hoodoo man.

So there's that.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:12 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Well, I'm going to play devil's advocate a bit, and mention that one of the points of the report is that by the time the oil reaches Florida, it will have degraded into tarballs. Just curious what the environmental consequences of this will be - it doesn't sound like it'll be as bad as the Valdez. It seems like "tar balls" would be easier to clean up than an oil slick, but maybe I'm just being opitimistic.
posted by heathkit at 2:52 AM on July 3, 2010

This seems extremely optimistic. I'm up in Charleston and I've pretty much resigned myself to seeing oiled marsh just like we see in NOLA.
posted by toastchee at 5:03 AM on July 3, 2010

If they don't see it, it didn't happen.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:44 AM on July 3, 2010

BoP, killer comment.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:24 PM on July 3, 2010

Well, I'm going to play devil's advocate a bit, and mention that one of the points of the report is that by the time the oil reaches Florida

That's a really ignorant comment. The oil is already all over Florida. There's footage of kids playing in oil on Destin beach that was posted in another thread. Tar balls washed up on PC beach a while back. A friend of mine who's a biologist working as a researcher at the FSU biology department (their oceanography department was collapsed into their biology department not long before the spill due to budget cutting) just went the weekend before last to collect core samples at Pensacola beach, and he confirmed when I talked to him about it that there's a three to four inch thick layer of oil collecting three feet under the sand running along pretty much the entire beach, due to the way the surf hits the shore and filters down through the sand. Believe me, the oil long ago reached Florida. A fact that even the most cursory daily scan of the news would have confirmed for you.

Jesus. Pay some fucking attention please, people. This is important.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:14 PM on July 5, 2010

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