Long range oil spill forecast

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

Share this Blog
4
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 206 - 156

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105Blog Index

Quoting JamesSA:
I don't understand what is preventing them from bolting a BOP valve onto that flange, now that the riser has been cut off and it is an open hole anyway.

It would be nice if they could then just turn off the oil with a valve. There are valves the size of that top hat that would bolt right on to that flange.


You honestly believe it would be a Good Idea to unbolt the only restriction in the flow?!

Like I've been saying all along. I wish they would quit futzing around with the well head before they bust something, spraying dispersents, let this stuff rise to the service, burn it off and concentrate their time and money on protecting the coast and mitigation of impact.

But I'm just Sunday morning quarterbacking like everyone else.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:
TROPICAL WEATHER SYNOPSIS JUNE 04, 2010 ISSUED 1:15 P.M. PHTFC


Great update as always StormW, I just don't see us going until July 10th without a named storm

This blog would be delirious if that were to happen lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaneWarning:


The gulf is warm. Will the oil create more heat in the gulf?


Nope
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
203. IKE
Quoting DestinJeff:
From CNN:

Rensink said workers drilling the current relief wells are fortunate because the original well's casing "gives them something to focus on." But, he said, even when the relief wells start nearing the original pipe, it will take many tries to intersect it.

"This is going to be a trial-and-error thing, and it's certainly going to take three, four, maybe more tries," he said. "There's virtually no way they can hit it on the first shot. I mean that would truly be like winning the lottery."


:(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DestinJeff:


taking the kids out on a dolphin cruise this evening ... bittersweet, I am afraid.
He'll contact me when he's back in range and let me know what he sees/saw. If it's before I depart for the day (3PMish), I'll drop you a WUmail on what's out there...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaneWarning:


The gulf is warm. Will the oil create more heat in the gulf?


this has been discussed at length. No it shouldnt.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
199. MahFL
They tighten the bolts on the drilling rig, not the sea bed......
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:
SST comparison now vs. 2005.



The gulf is warm. Will the oil create more heat in the gulf?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DestinJeff:


and Rita.


and anything really
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MahFL:
I heard it's impossible to undo the bolts with the ROV's, or anyother way where they are.
I am sure they have some sort of tool to handle the bolts on the riser pipes, since they are something they have to deal with routinely.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
194. MahFL
It was the BOP from Hell on the well from Hell, as we can see a bad bad co-incidence.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
going by looks only if i'm wrong please school me. lol!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SST comparison now vs. 2005.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
it looks as though the shear has dropped in the gulf and caribbean. jmo
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
189. MahFL
They already said they want to extract this oil, it's a gigantic well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
can't cap it during other operations i observe what appeared to be additional leaks below every time they restricted the flow the pressure once capped with a valve may blow out farther down the tree
That may be. I wonder if it is even rated for the pressure? I would not be surprised if they had used a 5,000psi BOP to save money.

Probably bought the the BOP off Craigslist.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
187. MahFL
I heard it's impossible to undo the bolts with the ROV's, or anyother way where they are.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DestinJeff:
Possible tar balls at Navarre Beach, Fl
East Pass was open early this morning with no boom deployed. My step son is 47 miles out getting one last fishing day in...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
When to start a relief well. The first step is to determine if the blowout well can be capped and killed by bullheading or circulating down existing tubulars. If there is significant uncertainty in the ability to cap the well, a pre-emptive relief well planning team should be formed (within 48 hrs of the blowout). Cost of a plan is cheap insurance should a relief well be needed and the relief well can often serve as a replacement well.

Anyone want to guess they will say they have to continue to pump from the relief well... to decrease the pressure???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
184. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Oman Meteorological Department
===============================

Date: 04/06/2010
Time: 12:00 LST.

The Weather System over Arabian Sea
Warning no. 9

The latest Satellite images and Numerical Weather Prediction products indicate that the tropical cyclone PHET has changed to a tropical Storm moving toward the North East with maximum sustained wind speed around the centre is reduced to be around 45 knots. It is expected that the effect of this storm will continue over Al-sharqiyah, Governates of Muscat and Al-buraimi and regions of AlDhakhlia, AlBhatinah and Al-Dhaherah within the next 24 hours.

Therefore heavy rain associated with fresh winds flash floods is expected to continue over the above mentioned areas particularly in Al-Sharqiya and Governate of Muscat.
The Directorate request People in the affected areas are to take precautions on the low lands from flowing Wadis because of the heavy rain and Fishermen are also advised to be precautious as seas are expected to be rough along the Sultanate’s coastal areas especially the coastal areas of the Arabian Sea as wave heights may reach up to 8 meters.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JamesSA:
I don't understand what is preventing them from bolting a BOP valve onto that flange, now that the riser has been cut off and it is an open hole anyway.

It would be nice if they could then just turn off the oil with a valve. There are valves the size of that top hat that would bolt right on to that flange.
can't cap it during other operations i observe what appeared to be additional leaks below every time they restricted the flow the pressure once capped with a valve may blow out further down the tree
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaneWarning:
I would think any hurricane in the gulf would stop drilling. They make big waves, and I'm sure they won't do anything if there are waves.
They evacuate rigs in the path of a hurricane. The rig that was previously drilling this "Well from Hell" was severely damaged by Ida last year, and had to go to dry dock for repairs. It was replaced by Deepwater Horizon.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
oh i see what happened. the low is over western louisiana right now
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I don't understand what is preventing them from bolting a BOP valve onto that flange, now that the riser has been cut off and it is an open hole anyway.

It would be nice if they could then just turn off the oil with a valve. There are valves the size of that top hat that would bolt right on to that flange.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I would think any hurricane in the gulf would stop drilling. They make big waves, and I'm sure they won't do anything if there are waves.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


pullin northeast it will be close
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dennis, Emily & Katrina repeat would derail the drilling for quite a while.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


I didn't know that....R U kidding me?

Anybody that comes on here wishcasting a GOM storm in 2010 is an idiot.


They would be an idiot anyway, but even more so this year.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


I didn't know that....R U kidding me?

Anybody that comes on here wishcasting a GOM storm in 2010 is an idiot.



hence the Christmas comments bopping about yesterday.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Was hoping Masters would have commented on the TSR forecast and FSU's new COAPS model...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
171. IKE
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:



The biggest problem when shutting down relief well operations, Rensink said, is that the bored hole typically collapses when the drill bit is removed. "Wherever this hole collapsed, you've got to start drilling from there," he said.


I didn't know that....R U kidding me?

Anybody that comes on here wishcasting a GOM storm in 2010 is an idiot.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
170. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number THIRTY-TWO
SEVERE CYCLONIC STORM PHET (ARB02-2010)
17:30 PM IST June 4 2010
=======================================

At 12:00 PM UTC, Severe Cyclonic Storm Phet over coastal Oman moved further northwards and emerged into northwest Arabian Sea. The system lays centered over northwest Arabian Sea near 23.0N 59.5E, about 50 km north-northeast of Sur, Oman, 950 km west of Naliya, Gujarat, and 800 km west-southwest of Karachi, Pakistan.

Available observations and numerical weather prediction models guidance suggest that the system would weaken gradually and move northeastwards towards Pakistan coast.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


Which makes me a downcaster all season for anything to get in or form in...the GOM. I'm openly rooting for a 0-0-0 in the GOM.

Odds of me being right....about 1 in 1,000. I think there will be a named system in the GOM by July 1st.



The biggest problem when shutting down relief well operations, Rensink said, is that the bored hole typically collapses when the drill bit is removed. "Wherever this hole collapsed, you've got to start drilling from there," he said.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaTom:


And Leon's Getting Larger...



LOLOLOLOLOL!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
167. MahFL
I saw the upper level low moving SSW too.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
165. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Disturbance Summary
21:00 PM JST June 4 2010
===============================

At 12:00 PM UTC, Tropical Depression (1004 hPa) located at 22.0N 125.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 40 knots. The depression is reported as moving east at 10 knots.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JamesSA:

Wow! That blob in the Gulf is getting bigger.


And Leon's Getting Larger...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
this morning they said that the low in texas was going to skirt louisiana and then take a nne track. just looked at sat. and it looks like the low has dipped south. is that what i am seeing or is that just storms pushing that way making it look as if its going south?
thanks in advance
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
@ IKE
sadly, Im afraid by the end of August we may NEED a major to help clean up and disperse this mess.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chicklit:
Looks like two different systems pushing oil toward the Panhandle...one from TX and one from Yucatan.
Be prepared for "them" to say "they've" tested the gobs and they're not from the Horizon spill.Loop



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting gator23:

mll no worries for now.
Yeah, not tropical in nature but still some frisky T-storms.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JamesSA:

Wow! That blob in the Gulf is getting bigger.


Yup.. want to bet they call off part of the connection, due to weather?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SouthALWX:

it's reverse psychology. Just gearing his mind up for a "surprise" ....


haha in the middle of the season he will still be spouting this off. Hes just making trouble
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
157. IKE
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
We knew this was coming :-(

Hurricanes could derail August oil leak deadline


Which makes me a downcaster all season for anything to get in or form in...the GOM. I'm openly rooting for a 0-0-0 in the GOM.

Odds of me being right....about 1 in 1,000. I think there will be a named system in the GOM by July 1st.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 206 - 156

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105Blog Index

Top of Page

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.

Local Weather

Overcast
31 °F
Overcast