Published: Jul 30, 2010 6:59 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 30, 2010 3:59 PM EDT

GULF OF MEXICO, Fla  - Southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the East Coast are not likely to experience any effects from the remaining oil on the surface of the Gulf as the oil continues to degrade and is hundreds of miles away from the loop current, according to a new NOAA analysis. This analysis assumes the Deepwater Horizon/BP wellhead will remained capped.

“For southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Eastern Seaboard, the coast remains clear,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “With the flow stopped and the loop current a considerable distance away, the light sheen remaining on the Gulf’s surface will continue to biodegrade and disperse, but will not travel far.”

This latest analysis is part of NOAA’s ongoing work related to the Deepwater Horizon/BP response and recovery efforts, including aerial and satellite-based observations of surface oil and monitoring of the loop current.

Overflights in the past week found only scattered patches of light sheen near the Mississippi Delta – an indication that aggressive efforts to capture the oil have been effective and that the remaining oil is naturally dispersing and biodegrading.

A large loop current eddy, called Eddy Franklin, has pinched off and detached from the loop current. As of July 25, Eddy Franklin was more than 100 miles from the nearest surface oil associated with the Deepwater Horizon BP source.

Until the loop current fully reforms, there is no clear way for oil to be transported to southern Florida or beyond, which is not projected to occur for several months. At that point, essentially all of the remaining surface oil will have dissipated.