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VIDEO: Sim Shows BP Oil Spreading up East Coast

While not deemed as a "prediction," the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and its collaborators have used a simulator to determine the path of the massive BP oil spill currently consuming the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the results, the imagery is rather frightening, showing that the spill will tap into the Loop Current and reach around Florida like a black tentacle. The oil with then travel up the east coast, riding the Gulf Stream until it hits Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The spill will then swing east and dump its load into the vast Atlantic ocean.

Again, the results aren't labeled as a prediction, but rather serves as a scenario of what might happen if the Loop Current is in a typical configuration. "Our best knowledge says the scope of this environmental disaster is likely to reach far beyond Florida, with impacts that have yet to be understood," said NCAR scientist Synte Peacock.

Peacock added that the modeling study--which used the Parallel Ocean Program to simulate how a liquid released at the spill site would disperse and circulate--is analogous to taking a dye and releasing it into water, then watching its pathway. She also added that the dye tracer doesn't feature oil-like properties--it doesn't form slicks, it doesn't coagulate, and it's not susceptible to chemical breakdown caused by bacteria "or other forces." As it stands, it's impossible to predict the precise trajectory of the spill given its composition.

The Parallel Ocean Program is the ocean component of the Community Climate System Model, a software tool designed by NCAR and the Department of Energy. Currently the simulations are conducted on supercomputers located at the New Mexico Computer Applications Center and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.