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 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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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Is it going to hit Florida?? :P


Going at 60 mph, about 900 years from now. Better start boarding up.
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May 6, 2010


June 6, 2010
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Quoting kmanislander:
The next two weeks will pile the heat on in the Caribbean. Every day here for the last several days has been in the 90's with a heat index near 110 degrees.

The pot is starting to boil.


I feel ya, Kman. I didn't get below 80F last night.
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4701. beell
Quoting atmoaggie:
Nevermind, Venus is the one that rotates backwards...


And maybe Uranus...
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Kman.....buckel up my friend....MJO returns to the Atlantic Basin the 1st or 2nd week in July...could be a rough 2 weeks.


I am ready. Cat 5 glass everywhere, evac plan ready and corned beef, crackers, water and batteries in a box !
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
I meant in the Caribbean not the Gulf of Mexico Tampaspin


I actually thought you was talking about the SubTropical swirl in the Bahamas that went north!
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Man WPB, the weather just isn't giving up over there huh?
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4697. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15648
The next two weeks will pile the heat on in the Caribbean. Every day here for the last several days has been in the 90's with a heat index near 110 degrees.

The pot is starting to boil.
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Quoting winter123:

I think i see an eye!



do i see a pinehole eye
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4694. Patrap


18/05/2010 - Tropical Cyclone Phet over the Indian Ocean, close to Oman, as seen by Metop-A ASCAT scatterometer winds (with infrared Meteosat background image, source: KNMI). A magenta marker on top of the wind flag denotes land presence. Orange wind arrows indicate that the wind vector cell is spatially inconsistent.
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Quoting kmanislander:


I'm thinking the last 10 days of the month


Kman.....buckel up my friend....MJO returns to the Atlantic Basin the 1st or 2nd week in July...could be a rough 2 weeks.
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Quoting SevereHurricane:
Did anyone notice that the 12Z ECMWF shows Tropical Development in the Bay of Campeche next week?


I did not see that at all looking at the 12Z run
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7475
Quoting Hurricanes101:


Is it going to hit Florida?? :P

I think i see an eye!
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Nevermind, Venus is the one that rotates backwards...
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i am your saveer
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taz will save you this year
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I meant in the Caribbean not the Gulf of Mexico Tampaspin
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7475
Quoting pottery:
Scented trash bags? !!!
The Ingenuity of the Marketing Department never fails to amaze me.


LOL...they really do work. And as an added….I empty a bag of potpourri to the bottom of my trash can in the kitchen. My kitchen always smells nice and fresh!
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Did anyone notice that the 12Z ECMWF shows Tropical Development in the Bay of Campeche next week?
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


General thinking is these strong waves coming off Africa could give us that spark in the Western Caribbean in about 7-10 days


I'm thinking the last 10 days of the month
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Quoting Tazmanian:
dont look now all but soon thing may start too pop out there



where sould we send JFV 1st in is row boat


Don't start
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Timing is everything, if we had that low of shear about 1 or 2 weeks ago, we would have already had Alex IMO



Maybe but, cool waters did not help either tho...
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Quoting beell:


Well if you want to get picky. According to a quick fact check, the Red Spot is/was in the southern hemisphere of Jupiter-with anti-cyclonic rotation. Making it "High Pressure".

That depends on one thing...does Jupiter rotate the same direction as Earth?
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Quoting kmanislander:


True enough but nothing in the area to take advantage of it.


General thinking is these strong waves coming off Africa could give us that spark in the Western Caribbean in about 7-10 days
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7475
Quoting kmanislander:


True enough but nothing in the area to take advantage of it.



not yet any way
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4677. xcool
hey .i'm back
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15648
Quoting TropicalWave:


oh really? you are so gone, pal.




a joke lol
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4675. Patrap
I use the accuweather Jupiter page.

Hubble Images Suggest Rogue Asteroid Smacked Jupiter




These NASA Hubble Space Telescope snapshots reveal an impact scar on Jupiter fading from view over several months between July 2009 and November 2009. Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Wong, H. Hammel, I. de Pater, and the Jupiter Impact Team



Without warning, a mystery object struck Jupiter on July 19, 2009, leaving a dark bruise the size of the Pacific Ocean. The spot first caught the eye of an amateur astronomer in Australia, and soon, observatories around the world, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, were zeroing in on the unexpected blemish.

Astronomers had witnessed this kind of cosmic event before. Similar scars had been left behind during the course of a week in July 1994, when more than 20 pieces of Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 (SL9) plunged into Jupiter’s atmosphere. The 2009 impact occurred during the same week, 15 years later.

Astronomers who compared Hubble images of both collisions say the culprit may have been an asteroid about 1,600 feet (500 meters) wide. The images, therefore, may show for the first time the immediate aftermath of an asteroid, rather than a comet, striking another planet.

The Jupiter bombardments reveal that the solar system is a rambunctious place, where unpredictable events may occur more frequently than first thought.

“This solitary event caught us by surprise, and we can only see the aftermath of the impact, but fortunately we do have the 1994 Hubble observations that captured the full range of impact phenomena, including the nature of the objects from pre-impact observations” says astronomer Heidi Hammel of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., leader of the Jupiter impact study.

"The object that hit Jupiter this time would have been small, dark, and cold—in other words, hard for us to see before the impact, regardless of which wavelength we used for observations," adds Amy Simon-Miller, a co-investigator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

In 2009 Hammel’s team snapped images of the debris field with Hubble’s recently installed Wide Field Camera 3 and newly repaired Advanced Camera for Surveys.

The analysis revealed key differences between the two collisions (in 1994 and 2009), providing clues to the 2009 event. Astronomers saw a distinct halo around the 1994 impact sites in Hubble ultraviolet (UV) images, evidence of fine dust arising from a comet-fragment strike. The UV images also showed a strong contrast between impact-generated debris and Jupiter’s clouds.

Hubble UV images of the 2009 impact showed no halo and also revealed that the site’s contrast faded rapidly. Both clues suggest a lack of lightweight particles, providing circumstantial evidence for an impact by a solid asteroid rather than a dusty comet.

The elongated shape of the recent impact site also differs from the 1994 strike, indicating that the 2009 object descended from a shallower angle than the SL9 fragments. The 2009 body also came from a different direction than the SL9 pieces.

The visible spectrum, however, was "nearly identical in this case to what we saw for SL9," says Simon-Miller, who recalculated the SL9 spectrum for this analysis. "This isn't surprising, because most of the debris we're looking at is actually burnt-up atmosphere: hydrogen, hydrocarbons, and soot. It's very black, just like the soot we're familiar with, and has a very flat spectrum."

By analyzing the temperatures and the spread of debris around the impact site, Simon-Miller also determined that much of the debris was located high in Jupiter's stratosphere. "Based on the temperature, we figured out how the wind changed with height," she explains. "And by looking at how the debris was moving, we figured out how high in altitude it must be."

Team member Agustín Sanchez-Lavéga of the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain, and colleagues performed an analysis of possible orbits that the 2009 impacting body could have taken to collide with Jupiter. Their work indicates the object probably came from the Hilda family of bodies, a secondary asteroid belt consisting of more than 1,100 asteroids orbiting near Jupiter.

The 2009 strike was equal to a few thousand standard nuclear bombs exploding, comparable to the blasts from the medium-sized fragments of SL9. The largest of those fragments created explosions that were many times more powerful than the world’s entire nuclear arsenal blowing up at once.

The recent impact underscores the important work performed by amateur astronomers. “This event beautifully illustrates how amateur and professional astronomers can work together,” notes Hammel.

The study by Hammel’s team appeared in the June 1 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. in Washington, D.C.

For images and more information about Jupiter, visit:

http://hubblesite.org/news/2010/16
http://www.nasa.gov/hubble
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dont look now all but soon thing may start too pop out there



where sould we send JFV 1st in is row boat
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I really don't like the looks at how much the shear is dropping.....WOW.

I have these posted in every sector of the Tropics....UNREAL!

LOOK at the GOM current vs. climatology....WOW



True enough but nothing in the area to take advantage of it.
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4672. beell
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.


Well if you want to get picky. According to a quick fact check, the Red Spot is/was in the southern hemisphere of Jupiter-with anti-cyclonic rotation. Making it "High Pressure".
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I really don't like the looks at how much the shear is dropping.....WOW.

I have these posted in every sector of the Tropics....UNREAL!

LOOK at the GOM current vs. climatology....WOW



Timing is everything, if we had that low of shear about 1 or 2 weeks ago, we would have already had Alex IMO
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7475
for now on any thing we do we blam it on JFV
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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.

Shear? Ammonia-free dry air?
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4667. Patrap
Quoting pottery:
Scented trash bags? !!!
The Ingenuity of the Marketing Department never fails to amaze me.


Im kinda partial to the Pine and Lavender scents
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I really don't like the looks at how much the shear is dropping.....WOW.

I have these posted in every sector of the Tropics....UNREAL!

LOOK at the GOM current vs. climatology....WOW

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Quoting pottery:
Scented trash bags? !!!
The Ingenuity of the Marketing Department never fails to amaze me.


From personal experience, don't buy those.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
i i think the doc blog will hit 10,000 commets this year on one blog



but i think if we did that i think it will overe lode wu


I actually dont think it will because once it gets busy I think Dr M will be paying much more attention and he will create new blogs so the comment number does not get too high
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7475
Quoting Weather456:



Excellent!
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Quoting pottery:
Scented trash bags? !!!
The Ingenuity of the Marketing Department never fails to amaze me.
LMAO.
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4661. aquak9
solar, handcrank, even recharge your cell phone

Link
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an am going too blam it on JFV
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4659. pottery
Scented trash bags? !!!
The Ingenuity of the Marketing Department never fails to amaze me.
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Quoting skkippboo:
What do the bloggers here tonight think of the effort/progress being made on the oil well?

What is this you speak of? P-r-o-g-r-e-s-s? What is that?
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i i think the doc blog will hit 10,000 commets this year on one blog



but i think if we did that i think it will overe lode wu
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Is it going to hit Florida?? :P
If it does follow current steering currents, yes. Lol.
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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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