How oil might affect a hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:59 PM GMT on May 07, 2010

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There's no major changes to the forecast for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. As I discussed in yesterday's post, on Sunday, the winds will begin increasing and shifting to the southeast. The latest run of the GFS model shows that this will be a week-long period of southeast winds, with wind speeds at times reaching 20 - 25 knots. These winds will threaten to bring oil to a large portion of the Louisiana coast, including regions of the central Louisiana coast west of the mouth of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi and Alabama coasts will also be at risk next week, but the risk to the Florida Panhandle is lower. Yesterday's post also has the long-range outlook for oil to get into the Loop Current and spread to the Florida Keys and beyond.

What will oil in the Gulf of Mexico do to a hurricane?
With hurricane season fast approaching and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico likely to still be around once hurricane season starts in June, we need to ask, how will oil affect any hurricanes that might traverse over the spill? And how might a hurricane's wind and storm surge affect the spill? Let's consider the first of those questions today.

From the time of the ancient Greeks to the days of the wooden ships and iron men, mariners dumped barrels of oil onto raging seas to calm them during critical moments of violent storms (Wyckoff, 1886.) Oil does indeed calm wind-driven waves, thanks to the reduction in surface tension of the water that oil causes. Ripples with a wavelength shorter than 17 mm are affected by surface tension, and these ripples then cause a feedback that reduces the height of larger waves with longer wavelengths (Scott, 1986.) The reduction of surface tension also impacts the flow of air above the water, and reduces the amount of sea spray thrown into the air, both of which could affect the wind speed. Oil also damps waves by forming a thick, viscous film at the top of the water that resists water motion (Scott, 1999.) Oil also helps calm raging seas by switching off of the wind energy input needed by the wave to break. This occurs because the surface film of oil prevents the generation of ripples on the exposed crests of the waves, and this smoother surface makes the wind less able to grab onto the wave and force it to break.

So, what would happen to a hurricane that encounters a large region of oily waters? A 2005 paper by Barenblatt et al. theorize that spray droplets hurled into the air by a hurricane's violent winds form a layer intermediate between air and sea made up of a cloud of droplets that can be viewed as a "third fluid". The large droplets in the air suppress turbulence in this "third fluid", decrease the frictional drag over the ocean surface, and accelerate the winds. According to this theory of turbulence, oil dumped on the surface of the ocean would reduce the formation of wind-whipped spray droplets, potentially calming the winds. The authors propose spraying oil on the surface of the ocean to reduce the winds of a hurricane. However, the turbulence theory championed by Barenblatt et al. has been challenged by other scientists. In a 2005 interview with Newscientist magazine, turbulence expect Julian Hunt at University College London, UK, remarks, "I am very doubtful about this approach." Hunt studies turbulence both theoretically and in the laboratory, and believes that the high wind speeds in a hurricane are not caused by sea spray. In an article he wrote for the Journal of Fluid Dynamics, Hunt suggests that variations in the turbulence between different regions of the hurricane cause sharp jumps in wind speed, which are responsible for the hurricane's strongest winds.

Oil reduces evaporation
Hurricanes are sustained by the heat liberated when water vapor that has evaporated from warm ocean waters condenses into rain. If one can reduce the amount of water evaporating from the ocean, a decrease in the hurricane's strength will result. Oil on the surface of the ocean will act to limit evaporation, and could potentially decrease the strength of a hurricane. However, if the oil is mixed away from the surface by the strong winds of a hurricane, the oil will have a very limited ability to reduce evaporation. According to a 2005 article in Popular Science magazine, Dr. Kerry Emanuel of MIT performed some tests in 2002 to see if oil on the surface of water could significantly reduce evaporation into a hurricane. He found that the slick quickly dissipated under high wind conditions that generated rough seas.


Figure 1. A comparison of the size of 2008's Hurricane Gustav with the size of the Gulf oil spill. The spill is only about 60 miles in diameter, while a hurricane like Gustav is typically 400+ miles in diameter.

Conclusion
A tropical cyclone in its formative stage--as either a tropical depression or a tropical storm with 40 mph winds--might be adversely affected if it encountered the Gulf of Mexico oil slick, due to the reduction of evaporation into the storm. However, a full-fledged hurricane would mix the oil into the ocean to such a degree that the storm would probably not see any significant reduction in evaporation. It remains unknown how the reduction of sea spray by oil might affect a hurricane. If the oil slick expands to a much larger size, there might be a significant reduction in strength of the hurricane, if theory of how a reduction of sea spray will decrease a hurricane's winds is correct. However, the oil slick is currently Delaware-sized, while a hurricane tends to be Texas-sized, and I doubt that the oil slick at its current size is large enough to have a significant impact on a hurricane's intensity. The slick is about 60 miles across, and it would take a hurricane about four hours to traverse the spill at a typical hurricane forward speed of 15 mph. Furthermore, the slick is within 50 miles land, and interactions with land will dominate the behavior of a hurricane that gets that close to the coast. Unfortunately, there is a decent chance that we'll get a real-world opportunity to see what will happen. June tropical storms tend to form in the Gulf of Mexico, and we've been averaging one June storm every two years since 1995. This year, the odds of a June Gulf of Mexico storm are probably a little lower than usual, shear from our lingering El Niño may bring wind shear levels a bit above average. I expect there is a 20% chance that we'll see a June tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico that would interact with the oil spill.

References
Barenblatt, G.I, A.J. Chorin, and V.M. Prostokishin, 2005, A note concerning the Lighthill sandwich model of tropical cyclones, PNAS August 9, 2005 vol. 102 no. 32 11148-11150 doi: 10.1073/pnas.0505209102.

Hunt, J.C.R, and I. Eames, 2006, Mechanics of inhomogeneous turbulence and interfacial layers,, Journal of Fluid Dynamics, vol. 554, pp. 499519 doi:10.1017/S002211200600944X.

Scott, J.C., 1986, "The Effect of Organic Films on Water Surface Motions," in Oceanic Whitecaps, edited by E. C. Monohan and G. Mac Niocaill, D. Reidel Publishing Company.

Scott, J.C., 1999, Ocean Surface Slicks - "Pollution, Productivity, Climate and Life-saving", IEEE Proceedings of the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symp. IGARSS99, Hamburg, Germany, 28 June-2 July 1999, vol. 3, pp 1463-1468, 1999.

Wyckoff, A.B., 1886, The Use of Oil in Storms at Sea, American Philosophical Society, April 2, 1886.

http://www.archive.org/stream/proceedingsofamep23 amer/proceedingsofamep23amer_djvu.txt

First tropical wave of the season leaves the coast of Africa
Yesterday, the National Hurricane Center noted the first tropical wave of the year coming off the coast of Africa in their Tropical Weather Discussion. The first half of May is the typical time when the first tropical wave comes off the coast of Africa. The wave is currently positioned in the far eastern Atlantic near 5N 45W, and I don't expect it to develop, since it is too close to the Equator to leverage the Earth's spin to gain the rotation needed. The wave has quickly been joined by two new ones today, located at 15W and 36W off the African coast. Tropical waves serve as the seed that form most Atlantic and Eastern Pacific hurricanes.

Portlight delivers major aid shipment to Haiti
Portlight continues to focus its energy and funds on the situation in Haiti, where the rainy season is fast approaching the needs for shelter, medical supplies, food and water remain urgent. Their latest effort was a shipment of several thousand pounds of Durable Medical Equipment and 30,000 pounds of rice that arrived this week via the schooner Halie and Mathew.

Portlight.org is also preparing to respond the the Gulf Coast oil spill by deploying one of more mobile kitchens to feed the hundreds of volunteers likely to flood the coast when the oil finally comes ashore. Please visit the Portlight.org web site or the Portlight blog to learn more and to donate to Portlight's efforts in Haiti and the Gulf Coast.


Figure 2. Relief supplies from the schooner Halie and Mathew sitting at the Portlight Haiti warehouse, ready for distribution.

Next Post
I'm on my way to Tucson today for the American Meteorological Society's 29th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, which will be held in Tucson next week. My next post will probably be on Monday night, when I plan to discuss the record SSTs observed last month in the tropical Atlantic. I'm excited to be catching up on and blogging about all the latest advancements in hurricane research!

Jeff Masters

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This is going to be problemsLink
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...current price. Link Down a little...Patrick says buy more Dawn to bring it back up
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Colgate stock chart...Link
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As requested, Colgate Palmolive President, Chairman and CEO message to shareholders. Link He talks funny...
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Only ONE relief well is being drilled.


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Good morning all. Thanks Dr. Masters for the post about the oil. I suspected evaporation wouldn't be too big of a problem for a powerful hurricane churning up the waters. At least any effect on a hurricane by the oil would be an adverse one instead of a favorable one.

Tropical Tidbit for Friday, May 7th
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136. myway
93 in Miami....Snow in upper midwest...strange year
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How the Gulf of Mexico oil spill happened: a graphic presentation
By Times-Picayune Staff
May 07, 2010, 12:37PM


Over two weeks after the catastrophic explosion and fire that killed 11 workers and caused the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, details are beginning to emerge about what went wrong. This diagram helps explain what was supposed to happen, and what failed.

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Quoting MahFL:


BP are already drilling 2 relief wells, it takes a few months to drill down to the correct depth below the ocean floor. Meanwile the oil flows at 5000 barrels per day, non stop.


Thanks.....I forgot about the depth and time issues for the relief wells........Lets All Pray that this works for now.
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Underwater robots positioned a giant 100-ton concrete-and-steel box over a blown-out well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico on Friday as workers prepared to drop the device to the seafloor in a first-of-its-kind attempt to stop oil gushing into the sea.

A spokesman for oil giant BP LPC, which is in charge of the cleanup, said the box was suspended over the main leak just after noon EDT Friday and was being moved into position.

Several undersea cameras attached to the robots were making sure it was properly aligned before it plunged all the way to the bottom.

"We are essentially taking a four-story building and lowering it 5,000 feet and setting it on the head of a pin," Bill Salvin, the BP spokesman, told The Associated Press.

If the device works, it could be collecting as much as 85 percent of the oil spewing into the Gulf and funneling it up to a tanker by Sunday. It's never been tried so far below the surface, where the water pressure is enough to crush a submarine.

Once the device in place later Friday, the robots will secure it over the main leak at the bottom, a process that will take hours.
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132. MahFL
Quoting weathermanwannabe:... they need to shut down the flow anyway they can, including dumping down cement or whatever whether through a releif well....



BP are already drilling 2 relief wells, it takes a few months to drill down to the correct depth below the ocean floor. Meanwile the oil flows at 5000 barrels per day, non stop.
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Quoting P451:
"E"


Link below the Hvolsveli web-cam, as "E" is having her late afternoon ash/steam party :o)

Link
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785



Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response


Gulf of Mexico-Transocean Drilling Incident



DATE: May 07, 2010 10:59:58 CST
Current Operations

May 7, 2010 Operations:

The Unified Area Command continues to work closely together with the Responsible Party and Federal, State, local and tribal partners in anticipating requirements, identifying response options, and rapidly providing response support.

The following is a synopsis of our daily response efforts:

Total Vessels (including tugs and skimmers): 256
Boom deployed: 788,085 feet
Boom available: 1,287,764 feet
Oil and Water Mix - Recovered: Approximately 1.89 million gallons
Dispersant Used : 267,195 gallons
Dispersant available: 317,591 gallons
Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV): 4
Overall Personnel Responding: 8,497

In addition to the overall personnel responding, more than 2,500 volunteers have been trained to assist in the response effort.


10 staging areas are in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines. These areas include:

Biloxi, Miss.
Pensacola, Fla.
Venice, La.
Pascagoula, Miss.
Port Sulphur, La.
Port Fourchon, La.
Gulfport, Miss.
Dauphin Island, Ala.
Shell Beach, La.
Slidell, La.

Weather conditions for May 7: Winds from the southeast at 10 knots, 1-3 foot seas, light chop in protected waters.

To report oiled or injured wildlife, please call 1-800-557-1401.

To report spill related damage claims, please call 1-800-440-0858.

To report oil on land, or for general Community and Volunteer Information, please call 1-866-448-5816.

For the latest information visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Oil_Spill_2010 or on Facebook at Deepwater Horizon Response. To view videos released by the unified command and the Deepwater Horizon joint information center visit http://www.youtube.com/user/DeepwaterHorizonJIC.

For media needing more information regarding the Deepwater Horizon incident, contact the joint information center at (985) 902-5231/5240.
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By Harry R Weber, Tamara Lush
AP
If the device works, it could be collecting as much as 85 percent of the oil spewing into the Gulf and funneling it up to a tanker by Sunday. It's never been tried so far below the surface, where the water pressure is enough to crush a submarine.......The containment device will not solve the problem altogether. Crews are still drilling a relief well and working on other methods to stop the well from leaking.


We all hope that this works; if it does not for some reason, they need to shut down the flow anyway they can, including dumping down cement or whatever whether through a releif well, or, right on top of the thing......Makes me feel a bit nervous that they are making such a huge effort at "collecting" the oil....They need to "write off" this particular well and rig regardless of what they may lose in potential profits or losses and forget the oil value at this point.
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Quoting washingaway:
Those photos you posted Patrap have made me sick to my stomach! I'm hoping to go to Empire this afternoon to photogragh the area before the oil comes.


Be careful on Hwy 23 going down,..Lotsa Media speeders.

I plan on going to Venice, Sunday with a group.
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Those photos you posted Patrap have made me sick to my stomach! I'm hoping to go to Empire this afternoon to photogragh the area before the oil comes.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


This heat is bringing the gulf temps to around 80 area wide. Funny how so many on here debated me on this and it's now 5/7/2010 and we have Gulf temps warmer than 2005 even after such a cold winter. Never underestimate Florida heat and humidity. Temps in the low to mid 90's with 70 to 75 degree dewpoints can really warm the ocean around Florida fast.


psst,..the Sun warms the Earth and GOM,,not Fla.

Fla warms our Hearts,though..specially in da summer,..

Wink,wink..

Beach Blanket,.Bingo
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Proof of da Globals Warmsing fo sho..

Thanx
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EnergyBoom1 — May 06, 2010 — http://www.energyboom.com
CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/EnergyB...

The remote ROV saw cutting the end of the riser pipe before placing the cutoff valve on it ,earlier this week.



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.. Record high temperature set at Miami...

A record high temperature of 93 degrees was set at Miami today. This
breaks the old record of 92 set in 1955.


Miami broke a record yesterday. Dog hot this year.
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Cape is 2500 to 3000 in most of the lower FL peninsula, CIN cap is broken around Lake O and Western PBC so the moderate lightning threat has been extended per NWS to cover those areas. Sea breeze is setting up now, look for storms to take off within the hour.
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Quoting Patrap:
Oil and water
Added by John McCusker on May 6, 2010 at 4:03 PM

JOHN MCCUSKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Oil has reached the northern part of the Chandeleur Islands Thursday, May 6, 2010,




What a mess!

And here another doom and gloom scenario for Europe, though nothing imminent, I hope
Europe's largest underwater volcano at risk of collapse
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Oil and water
Added by Doug Parker on May 6, 2010 at 7:51 PM

DAVID GRUNFELD / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE A dead bird floats in oily water in Breton Sound about 10 miles southeast of Breton Island, Thursday May 6, 2010.

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#95 - that is incredible! Thanks for posting :)
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Oil and water
Added by John McCusker on May 6, 2010 at 4:03 PM

JOHN MCCUSKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Oil has reached the northern part of the Chandeleur Islands Thursday, May 6, 2010,


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Quoting Ossqss:


Good deal Aussie, careful with what that program asks to delete. I had a friend that deleted windows security center files when it showed a false positive from another problem. Not a good move on his part.

BTW, I had a older very slow PC and I used this registry cleaner (free one) and it greatly improved the performance. Just in case anyone needs it. Again, always understand what you are deleting before you do :) L8R

http://www.eusing.com/free_registry_cleaner/registry_cleaner.htm

i use CCleaner, i will try that program. thanks
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Oil and water
Added by John McCusker on May 6, 2010 at 4:03 PM

JOHN MCCUSKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE A shrimp boat drags skimmers through the oil slick in the Gulf Of Mexico Thursday, May 6, 2010,


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Oil and water
Added by John McCusker on May 6, 2010 at 4:03 PM

JOHN MCCUSKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE A flotilla of boats is on hand to try and cap the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico Thursday, May 6, 2010. The boat with the cofferdam on it is bottom right.
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Breaking News »

Containment vessel suspended above Gulf of Mexico oil spill leak site, officials say

By The Associated Press
May 07, 2010, 11:45AM

Officials are saying the containment box that could divert much of the oil leaking in the Gulf of Mexico is suspended above the spewing crude and robot submarines are trying to align it correctly.

BP PLC spokesman Bill Salvin said Friday the device was in the process of being positioned over the main leak. He says there are four to five underwater robots that are being used to help position it.

Salvin says there is no precise time for when it will be put on the seafloor.

Coast Guard Capt. Ron LaBrec says box is suspended above the leak site.

It's a first-of-its-kind attempt to stop most of the gushing crude fouling the Gulf of Mexico. If the box is positioned over the leak, crews still need to connect a pipe to siphon the oil to a boat.
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Quoting Chicklit:
This poem was written by Irish poet William Butler Yeats in 1919, shortly after the first World War

Oh, thank you, Judy. Frightening and beautiful. I copied this one to remember.
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Quoting NRAamy:
I bet Billy Mays could clean that mess up...

or that Sham Wow dude.....
Or a whole buncha Bounty, The quicker picker upper.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21195
Quoting AussieStorm:

Thanks, I did a scan with Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and it picked up 6 issues. pc is running fine now


Good deal Aussie, careful with what that program asks to delete. I had a friend that deleted windows security center files when it showed a false positive from another problem. Not a good move on his part.

BTW, I had a older very slow PC and I used this registry cleaner (free one) and it greatly improved the performance. Just in case anyone needs it. Again, always understand what you are deleting before you do :) L8R

http://www.eusing.com/free_registry_cleaner/registry_cleaner.htm
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This poem was written by Irish poet William Butler Yeats in 1919, shortly after the first World War.

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

(Second part of poem removed; not up for provoking spiritual manias...)

The photo Barbamz posted reminded me of this exquisite poem about despair.
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will do...after lunch
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Quoting Patrap:


Thanx for the Warning...

Christ has a new First Name?

And I always thought it was Jesus.
That was funny
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21195
Quoting NttyGrtty:
I own some actually. It's Colgate-Palmolive and first qarter earnings were down. Does this qulaify as "profitering" by Colgate if they try to boost their 2nd quarter earnings by "taking advantage" of this little leak" Link


Dunno..please,do a entry on it,we can use the Lessons
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Quoting Patrap:
LEAKED: BP Memo About the Positives of the Gulf Oil Spill



Ya win some,ya Lose some.

Try Palmolive group,Blue Liquid dawn iz a rolling.
I own some actually. It's Colgate-Palmolive and first qarter earnings were down. Does this qualify as "profiteering" by Colgate if they try to boost their 2nd quarter earnings by "taking advantage" of this little leak" Link
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German newspaper *Frankfurter Allgemeine" has a series of somehow surreal pics of the oil spill
link
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101. JRRP
wow three Tropical Waves and another one near 10N 5E

Link
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Quoting Ossqss:


netstat.exe description

cmd.exe description

Thanks, I did a scan with Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and it picked up 6 issues. pc is running fine now
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LEAKED: BP Memo About the Positives of the Gulf Oil Spill

Quoting NttyGrtty:
Not an investor Patrick? Mayo jar burried in the back yard maybe? Me, I lost $8K yesterday...at least on paper, that is


Ya win some,ya Lose some.

Try Palmolive group,Blue Liquid dawn iz a rolling.
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Stocks Slide as Market Rout Triggers Trading-Systems Concern

"Regulators are reviewing a plunge that briefly wiped out more than $1 trillion in market value yesterday"

That's not play money :(
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Hi Bordonaro. Incredible satellite pics! (http://brunnur.vedur.is/pub/hroi/aska_mai.gif)
That's one big ash cloud. Looks like we may see European air traffic closed again.

High speed rail lookin better n better.
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Quoting Patrap:


Freaking out?

Not his phella,..

Numbers never hurt anyone on a screen.


Seems the nightmare yesterday was a mirage..,


Floor traders can go the way of the Dinosaurs,and we would all be better off.









Not an investor Patrick? Mayo jar burried in the back yard maybe? Me, I lost $8K yesterday...at least on paper, that is
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Recent earthquake activity under "E"
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting StormChaser81:


Charlie Christ will be at my building within the hour and a couple of Senators.


Thanx for the Warning...

Christ has a new First Name?

And I always thought it was Jesus.
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Charlie Christ will be at my building within the hour and a couple of Senators.
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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