Oil FAIL: Holy crap, look at that "tendril"!
This image is the NASA Goddard / MODIS Rapid Response Team Text using the NASA Aqua satellite. Here's the full caption, and you can almost see the places where the scientists were writing, and where the PR people were inserting verbiage:
EDT on May 18, NASA's Aqua satellite swept over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill from its vantage point in space and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument captured sunglints in a visible image of the spill. The visible image showed three bright areas of sunglint within the area of the gray-beige colored spill. Sunglint is a mirror-like reflection of the sun off the water's surface. In calm waters, the rounded image of the sun would be seen in a satellite image. However, the waves in the Gulf blurred the reflection and created an appearance of three bright areas in a line on the ocean's surface. According to the May 18 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web update of the Deepwater Horizon incident, "satellite imagery on May 17 indicated that the main bulk of the oil is dozens of miles away from the Loop Current, but that a tendril of light oil has been transported down close to the Loop Current." The May 18 NOAA update also noted that "NOAA extended the boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf into the northern portion of the loop current as a precautionary measure to ensure seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers. The closed area is now slightly less than 19 percent of the Gulf of Mexico federal waters." Image credit: NASA Goddard / MODIS Rapid Response Team Text credit: Rob Gutro / NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Unfortunately, as Yves notes, NOAA's doing everything they can to prevent data collection and obfuscate and minimize data interpretation, and the scientists are pissed that politics and profits are the drivers. However, whichever administration flak chose the word "tendril," big ups! ("Close to" is good, too!)* Other commentary on the image from TreeHugger:
That Can't Be Good
Look at the scale of that thing! Based on the 25 km reference in the bottom left corner of the NASA image, the 'arm' is hundreds of kilometers long. ...
One thing's for certain, something is taking the oil in the Southeast direction rapidly enough that it doesn't spread too much. Look at how well-defined the edges of the slick are!
"Something" like the Gulf Loop Current, perhaps?
NOTE * And if you're that flak, do be sure to give Jon Favreau a jingle at promotion time! Note "tendril" already propagating in this headline. The lazy writer is the flak's best friend! Note "5000 barrels" lie propagating here. And so it goes...
NOTE This image is available at several sites, and to make sure -- not that I'm foily about my own "side" -- that the defined edges aren't PhotoShopped, I went to the NASA site and got the original, to which I linked. Just... Yikes.