Long range oil spill forecast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:02 PM GMT on June 04, 2010

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Onshore winds out of the south, southwest, or west are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico over through Tuesday, resulting in a continued threat of landfalling oil to Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. The latest ocean current forecasts from the NOAA HYCOM model show that these winds will generate a 0.5 mph current flowing from west to east along the Florida Panhandle coast Sunday through Tuesday. If this current develops as predicted, it will be capable of bringing light amounts of oil as far east as Panama City, Florida, by Wednesday. Long range surface wind forecasts from the GFS model for the period 8 - 14 days from now predict a return to a southeasterly wind regime, which would bring the oil back over Louisiana by mid-June. If you spot oil, send in your report to http://www.gulfcoastspill.com/, whose mission is to help the Gulf Coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.

Long range oil spill outlook
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) issued a press release yesterday showing 4-month model runs (Figure 1) of where the Deepwater Horizon oil spill might go. The model runs show that given typical ocean currents in the Gulf of Mexico, we can expect the oil to eventually affect most of the Florida Panhandle, Keys, and Florida East Coast, as well as coastal areas of South Carolina and North Carolina. Very little oil makes it to the West Florida "Forbidden Zone", where offshore-moving surface currents dominate. The oil may eventually affect three foreign countries: Mexico along the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cuba near Havana, and the Bahamas in the Bimini Islands and along the western side of Grand Bahama Island. Once oil does get into the Loop Current, it will probably reach the coasts of France, Spain, and Portugal in about a year. The oil will be too dilute by then to be noticeable, though.

The present ocean current configuration in the Gulf features a newly formed Loop Current Eddy (dubbed "Franklin"), which will tend to capture the majority of oil that flows southwards from the Deepwater Horizon spill site. A plot of drifting buoys (drifters) launched into the Gulf May 19 - 24 (Figure 2) reveals how this clockwise-rotating eddy has been capturing southward-moving surface water. Eddy Franklin will move slowly west-southwest at 2 - 3 mph in the coming weeks. By August or September, the eddy will have moved far enough west that the Loop Current will be able to push northwards towards the spill location again, increasing the chances of oil getting into the Loop Current and being advected through the Florida Straits and up the U.S. Southeast Coast. Between now and mid-August, I doubt that a significant amount of oil will get into the Loop Current, unless a hurricane or tropical storm goes through the Gulf of Mexico. I put the odds of this happening by mid-August at 50%. The odds of a named storm in the Gulf of Mexico will increase sharply after mid-August, when the peak portion of hurricane season arrives. Past history shows a 95% chance of getting two or more named storms in the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane seasons with above-normal activity.


Figure 1. Animation from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) showing one scenario of how oil released at the location of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico may move in the upper 65 feet of the ocean.


Figure 2. During the R/V Bellows 19-24 May 2010 Cruise into the Loop Current, drifters were dropped on the eastern edge of the Loop Current. These drifters have all been caught in Loop Current Eddy "Franklin", and are orbiting the central Gulf of Mexico in clockwise loops. Additional drifters deployed by the Coast Guard over the past few weeks (orange colors) are also shown. The colored balloons show the starting location of the drifters. Image credit: University of South Florida.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Oil trajectory forecasts from NOAA
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami


Figure 2. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Friday, June 4, 2010.

Tropical Cyclone Phet unleashes heavy rains on Oman
Tropical Cyclone Phet hit the northern tip of Oman yesterday as a Category 2 storm, bringing torrential rains and killing at least two people. Masirah, Oman recorded sustained winds of 74 mph yesterday, and Sur, Oman on the northeast coast has received 3.25 inches of rain so far. Phet was the 2nd strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Arabian Sea, when it peaked at Category 4 strength with 145 mph. Only Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007, which devastated Oman, was stronger. Phet has emerged from the coast of Oman this morning, but is likely to weaken over the next day due to increased wind shear. Phet should hit Pakistan as a tropical storm on Saturday, bringing heavy rain and serious flooding.

Next update
I'll probably have one update over the weekend. The tropical Atlantic is quiet right now, with no models predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


latest up to 901 pm edt next image after midnight


That is a great loop for MJO also....NICE JOB!
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4755. Dakster
Quoting hydrus:
I think they issued the last advisory on that one. If you did not hear the news, The Great Red Spot is gone. This is not a joke.


And it is not the first time it has disappeared either. Saturn also lost a colored ring around the planet as well.
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4754. Levi32
Quoting DestinJeff:


your thoughts on feasibility of the GFS long-range TC in the GOM? I know you don't prefer GFS.


Oh the GFS is just the GFS lol.

These runs will keep going back and forth from development to no development. What I've been taking away from the models is that they are starting to show the concern for mischief in the Caribbean as heat starts to build up in the region between the 10th and 20th. How feasible it is to actually get development is something we will nail down as this wave actually gets into the area. Until then it is an area of concern because it will be favorable for trouble next week.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
If the Nam is to be believed, Central Florida should enjoy dewpoints in the 50's on Tuesday. Better enjoy it cause our next front won't be until late September!
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4750. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


latest up to 901 pm edt next image after midnight
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52263
Quoting all4hurricanes:

yeah a pinhole eye the size of Texas remember this is Jupiter the minimum central pressure is rising though it's at 150mb now I think lol :3
LOL! More like the size of the United States, Texas is an understatement. Well I'm out, good night!
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4748. xcool



wowowwwwwwwwwwwwwww high
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Quoting Tazmanian:



do i see a pinehole eye

yeah a pinhole eye the size of Texas remember this is Jupiter the minimum central pressure is rising though it's at 150mb now I think lol :3
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You can also buy a $20 APC power inverter for you car. Then just use the wall plug. That thing comes in handy.
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4743. Grothar
Quoting atmoaggie:

Oops, misread heat index as dew point...


Was going to mention that , but didn't want to embarrass you on the blog.
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Quoting dearmas:


i do and I LOVE IT
Me too. Well what I was saying was that there is a charger that is battery powered that charges your iPhone, which can be very useful after a hurricane. Search it up on Google, they range from $45-$100.
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Quoting gordydunnot:
4734 looks like a pin hole eye.
LMAO
Now thats funny I tell ya
Taco :o)
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4740. dearmas
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Anyone have iPhone's here?


i do and I LOVE IT
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Quoting gordydunnot:
4734 looks like a pin hole eye.
LOL.
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Quoting gator23:


Hey Miami!
Hello.
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4734 looks like a pin hole eye.
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4736. Patrap
BP has expanded to Titan?


What is Consuming Hydrogen and Acetylene on Titan?

PASADENA, Calif. - Two new papers based on data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft scrutinize the complex chemical activity on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. While non-biological chemistry offers one possible explanation, some scientists believe these chemical signatures bolster the argument for a primitive, exotic form of life or precursor to life on Titan's surface. According to one theory put forth by astrobiologists, the signatures fulfill two important conditions necessary for a hypothesized "methane-based life."

One key finding comes from a paper online now in the journal Icarus that shows hydrogen molecules flowing down through Titan's atmosphere and disappearing at the surface. Another paper online now in the Journal of Geophysical Research maps hydrocarbons on the Titan surface and finds a lack of acetylene.

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4735. Levi32
Our wave near 38W is making quite a northwest move today.



Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
Possible MLC?

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4733. gator23
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Hello!


Hey Miami!
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4731. hydrus
.............................Another mighty cat-5.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19540
Quoting Ossqss:
Just sayin on the planetary scale, lots to keep an eye on. :)

As the Sun Awakens, NASA Keeps a Wary Eye on Space Weather



You got mail!
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Quoting leo305:


it will probably get hotter than that, since july/August tends to be the hottest time of the year
oh yea I should have said this was the night time temps because it will be a "Lot Hotter" during the day time thats for sure....

Taco :0)
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Yawn its boring compared to last night no activity anywhere, which I suppose is actually a good thing.
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Naples, Florida (Airport)
Updated: 54 min 45 sec ago

86 F
Clear
Humidity: 74%
Dew Point: 77 F
Wind: 10 mph from the WNW

Pressure: 29.98 in (Rising)
Heat Index: 97 F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds:
Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 7 ft

Wont take to much of this the gulf will be cookin.
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Quoting Levi32:
Evening everyone.
Hello!
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Oops, misread heat index as dew point...
Not kidding. I just quoted you and it said "This entry has reached the maximum ammount of comments, no more comments are allowed". I had to close my browser and come back to post again. Jeff you need to post a new blog.
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Quoting pottery:
Kman, WuMail to you.


Got it. Back to you
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4723. leo305
Quoting taco2me61:
all I can say is welcome to "Summer" and I'm afraid it will be like this untill the end of October

Taco :o)


it will probably get hotter than that, since july/August tends to be the hottest time of the year
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4722. Levi32
Evening everyone.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
Quoting hydrus:
Yes.But it completes a rotation in just under 10 hours.

Dat's a lot of coriolis...
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Here it is 9:43pm and its still 84deg in Tampa!
all I can say is welcome to "Summer" and I'm afraid it will be like this untill the end of October

Taco :o)
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Quoting Weather456:
I'll see you guys in the am with a tropical update...

Until then if you missed today's blog entry:

Tracking African Easterly Waves: Genesis
Yeah, there's school tomorrow or else I would of stayed up until the early AM.
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4718. Ossqss
Just sayin on the planetary scale, lots to keep an eye on. :)

As the Sun Awakens, NASA Keeps a Wary Eye on Space Weather

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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Coral Gables, Florida (PWS)
85.6 F
Humidity: 74%
Dew Point: 74 F
Heat Index: 94 F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds:
Few 2000 ft
Scattered Clouds 5000 ft
Scattered Clouds 13000 ft
Mostly Cloudy 25000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 21 ft

Oops, misread heat index as dew point...
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
May 6, 2010


June 6, 2010



Look at those 2 pics and look how the Pacific cooled...WOW! That is amazing!
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Coral Gables, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 2 min 46 sec ago
Mostly Cloudy
85.6 °F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 74%
Dew Point: 74 °F
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
Pressure: 29.93 in (Rising)
Heat Index: 94 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds:
Few 2000 ft
Scattered Clouds 5000 ft
Scattered Clouds 13000 ft
Mostly Cloudy 25000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 21 ft
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4714. pottery
Kman, WuMail to you.
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I'll see you guys in the am with a tropical update...

Until then if you missed today's blog entry:

Tracking African Easterly Waves: Genesis
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4712. hydrus
Quoting atmoaggie:

That depends on one thing...does Jupiter rotate the same direction as Earth?
Yes.But it completes a rotation in just under 10 hours.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19540
Quoting kmanislander:


I am ready. Cat 5 glass everywhere, evac plan ready and corn beef, crackers, water and batteries in a box !


Glad to hear that Kman. Get ready!

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Quoting Weather456:


Going at 60 mph, about 900 years from now. Better start boarding up.


Ok going to the store now, thanks for the heads up lol
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Here it is 9:43pm and its still 84deg in Tampa!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
May 6, 2010


June 6, 2010


that is scary
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Quoting charlottefl:
Man WPB, the weather just isn't giving up over there huh?


A front coming through...going back to the morning showers instead of the afternoon boomers.
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About JeffMasters

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