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Location: Newark, Delaware, United States

My name is David P. Bellamy. The only significant thing not mentioned elsewhere here is, I think, that I almost always prefer to read a book instead of watching a movie.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Oil on troubled waters?

I have the recurring thought that, disastrous as the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico is, there could be a (tiny) silver lining. It seems to me that the energy transfer from warm water to air that strengthens hurricanes depends on easy thermal transfer, mediated via evaporation, no doubt, between water and air. If there is a layer of oil on the surface of the water, I predict that it will make this energy transfer less efficient, and will therefore make any hurricanes which form in, or move into, the Gulf far less intense this summer.

Oil both keeps water from evaporating and acts as an insulating layer.

I can only hope I am right about this; as has been noted by many others, a major hurricane spreading oil far inland could make the situation far worse than it already is.