According to Dr. Yonggang Liu with the USF College of Marine Science Department, after studying the various models on the oil spill trajectory based on wind forecasts, he believes a rough estimate of the arrival time of the oil spill into the Florida Keys will happen on either May 23 or 24, and into Miami possibly as early as May 28.
Confirming what other USF Marine Science officials said on Monday, Dr. Liu says that the oil spill has been "entrained in the Loop Current or at least on the edge of the Loop Current."
Government officials as recently as yesterday disagree. Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry of the Coast Guard, one of the top officials overseeing the spill response, said yesterday:
"We know that the oil has not entered the loop current at this time. There may be some leading edge sheen thats getting closer to the loop current, but this spill has not entered the loop current proper.
But if officials disagree about that, it seems to be only a question as to when the spill flows into the Loop Current, though there may be a dispute about how serious the situation becomes once it's in the Current.
Jane Lubchenco, administrator of NOAA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, said last night on PBS's NewsHour:
JANE LUBCHENCO: There's a very small stream of oil that is a very light sheen that is getting close to the loop current. And it's likely that, at some point, it will be entrained by the loop current. But that current, if there is oil entrained in it, it would be probably nine to 12 days before that would reach the Florida Strait.And, during that time, it gets highly diluted, parts per billion, and it weathers naturally. And, so, any oil that would be reaching Florida Strait might be in the form of tar balls, for example. And whether it ever comes ashore or not would be a function of whether there were good onshore winds bringing it. So...
GWEN IFILL: You say tar balls, you mean tar balls or tar balls?
JANE LUBCHENCO: Probably little, very little tar balls. And the...
GWEN IFILL: So, you are saying it is highly unlikely that the loop current could bring substantial damage to faraway beaches or shorelines?
JANE LUBCHENCO: That's correct.
GWEN IFILL: How about to faraway animals and -- and underwater life?
JANE LUBCHENCO: By the time the oil is in the loop current, it's likely to be very, very diluted. And, so, it's not likely to have a very significant impact. It sounds scarier than it is.
There have also been reports today that tar balls have been found off the coast in Key West.
Also yesterday, Democratic Senators Bill Nelson of Florida joined up with California's Barbara Boxer in writing a letter to BP requesting that the oil giant provide the Senate with all video records of the Deepwater Horizon well and associated spill. They wrote that the public and the scientific communities should also have access to such materials.