Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico
acquired July 28, 2010 download large image (818 KB, JPEG, 2400x1800)

On July 24, 2010, the administrator of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Jane Lubchenco, provided a briefing about the anticipated impact of Tropical Storm Bonnie on the Deepwater Horizon oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. Bonnie was expected to help dissipate and weather the oil on the sea surface, spreading out the slick, lowering surface concentrations, and making the oil more amenable to biodegradation. On July 28, 2010, after Bonnie had passed through the region, NOAA reported less oil observed on Gulf of Mexico overflights.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on July 28, 2010. Around the location of the oil leak, and around the Mississippi Delta, relatively light swirls and patches appear on the ocean surface. These areas might be oil slicks, although other factors could affect the water’s ability to reflect sunlight, especially near the shore. If these pale-hued sheens are oil-slicked areas, they contain very little recoverable oil, according to NOAA.

In the months since the Deepwater Horizon accident, the Earth Observatory has been able to show oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico only under certain conditions, namely clear skies and sunlight hitting the water at an appropriate angle. To learn more about our oil slick images, including why the oil isn’s visible every day, please visit Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick Images: Frequently Asked Questions.

  1. Related Resources

  2. RestoreTheGulf.gov is the official federal portal for the Deepwater BP oil spill response and recovery.
  3. Current information about the extent of the oil slick is available from the Office of Response and Restoration at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.
  4. Information about the impact of the oil slick on wildlife is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Michon Scott.

Instrument(s): 
Aqua - MODIS

Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico

Share
Image Location
Image Location
More in this Event (view all)
Left
Smoke Plume from Burning Oil Rig in Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak from Damaged Well in Gulf of Mexico Explosion, Leak at Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Explosion, Leak at Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Gulf Oil Spill Creeps Towards Mississippi Delta Oil Slick Near Mississippi Delta Explosion, Leak at Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Observed From the International Space Station Oil Reaches Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana Oil Slick in Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Continues in Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick near the Mouth of the Mississippi Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Explosion, Leak at Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Gulf Oil Slick Approaching Loop Current Oil Slick off the Mississippi Delta Oil Slick off the Mississippi Delta Oil Slick Continues in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak Continues in Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Offshore of Alabama and Florida's Western Panhandle Oil Slick Around Mississippi Barrier Islands Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick, Mississippi River Delta, Gulf of Mexico
Right