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 TampaSpin:
YOu all realize that the return to of MJO into the Atlantic Basin will be coming around the 1st to 2nd week in July ....Get ready for a might fast start in July.....JMO


I do think we will get a storm before that though
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7726
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
it don';t work on yourself


Ok, I couldn't stay quiet any longer! PERFECT!!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Convection waning with the area emerging off of Africa.





That's normal for waves that are exiting the African Coast.
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Quoting Weather456:


To the untrained eye. The convection to the southwest of the axis is ITCZ convection and some energy from the AEJ. The wave axis and maximum curvature is near 10N, not in the ITCZ. The wave is expected to remain well north of the ITCZ or its vorticity max.

Totaly agree with you on this one. I noticed that right away. That could be the one really to watch. Def farther north than all the previous waves.
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Quoting Weather456:


remember that's the secondary circulation.

18Z GFS Analysis

You're right. But the thing about the analysis that you posted is that they're from 18z, the current time is 00:46z.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting TampaSpin:
YOu all realize that the return to of MJO into the Atlantic Basin will be coming around the 1st to 2nd week in July ....Get ready for a might fast start in July.....JMO
I agree thats when we will get our first storm in my opinion.
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
CIMSS 850 MB vorticity reveals it as very elongated.





remember that's the secondary circulation.

18Z GFS Analysis

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Convection waning with the area emerging off of Africa.



Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Keeperofthe gate you are so "Funny"
I like it....

Taco :o)
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YOu all realize that the return to of MJO into the Atlantic Basin will be coming around the 1st to 2nd week in July ....Get ready for a might fast start in July.....JMO
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4542. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
How to ignore someone.I tried pressing the button but it didn't work.
it don';t work on yourself
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53841
Quoting Weather456:


the mid-level circulation
CIMSS 850 MB vorticity reveals it as very elongated.



Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting HurricaneKyle:


The wave just off the coast it seems most of the convection is embedded within the ITCZ.


To the untrained eye. The convection to the southwest of the axis is ITCZ convection and some energy from the AEJ. The wave axis and maximum curvature is near 10N, not in the ITCZ. The wave is expected to remain well north of the ITCZ or its vorticity max.
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
How to ignore someone.I tried pressing the button but it didn't work.
Go to the "how to ignore a blogger" within your new comment block below. Once you establish your list, you can add to it with the "ignore user" button on the bottom of every post
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


circulation?


the greatest curvature
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Quoting masonsnana:
WOW Can I have this list of who we can and can't quote? I'm getting confused and need a beverage

Yea haha I dont ignore anyone because it is a blog...surprised people get so upset over what others write. I just sit here and laugh at it. I will quote whoever I want and if they dont like it they can ignore me. They would be the ones missing out, not me.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
6th day of the 6th month with 6 tropical waves all lined up.. if your superstitious that should make your cringe.
That's 666. I'm not superstitious or anything but you do have to admit that's pretty scary.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting Weather456:


The wave just off the coast it seems most of the convection is embedded within the ITCZ.
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Who's the guy in the link.Why is he taking pictures in the bathroom out of all places.The living room would be more appropriate.


That's the person who's name shall not me said. Aren't the fishy shower curtains in the background pretty?
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
6th day of the 6th month with 6 tropical waves all lined up.. if your superstitious that should make your cringe.


NIce Teddy you dang little Devil!
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Quoting Weather456:

There we go...one almost up to 10N. Now we can start to watch.
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6th day of the 6th month with 6 tropical waves all lined up.. if your superstitious that should make your cringe.
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Quoting Weather456:


circulation?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7726
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4524. EricSFL
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Are there any blogger's from maryland on??.I don't live in florida so I don't know what it's like.







This is Florida, aka Paradise.
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Quoting JamesSA:
Whoa! On the Viking Poseidon ROV 1 feed they are practicing to see if they can unbolt a riser flange with an ROV. It looks like that fat bodied socket has an interference problem and needs to go back topside for a little machining... But what this means is they are thinking of unbolting the flange so they can bolt a BOP valve onto the well. If they could do that there is the potential to totally stop the leak. Link

I am happy to see they are done messing around and thinking about actually fixing this.


I also just noticed duct tape on that ROV arm. That's one hell of an ad for duct tape.

"Our tape holds ocean saving robots together 5000' below the surface"
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:

@4509. 6 waves in the train and it's only June 6th.
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Quoting hydrus:
I am from s.w.Florida. Was there for Charley and quite a few others.


WOW! I never realized...
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Quoting DestinJeff:


you and me both. i don't have that feature enabled that allows me to magically know which bloggers are ignored by others either.


um yea but we ALL know that the particular blogger he/she was quoting is one 95% of the blog has ignored
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7726
Quoting TropicalWave:
thanks, sir. what's the ''general'' timeline for something to potentially get going in the SW carib. later on this week? From one of the african waves. because, you see, im traveling out of town on the 21st, i'll be attendinga conference in cali for 3 days that week, and i was wondering about something affect the state during that timespan.
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From NWS PR:

AT THIS MOMENT A WEAK TROPICAL WAVE WILL MOVE ACROSS THE SOUTHERN
CARIBBEAN WITH NO DIRECT IMPACT OVER THE LOCAL FORECAST AREA. THE
GFS MODEL GUIDANCE SUGGESTS THAT A WEAK TROPICAL WAVE WILL MOVE
MAINLY SOUTH OF THE REGION BY TUESDAY. THIS FEATURE WILL BRING A
SLIGHT INCREASE IN MOISTURE...WITH SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS
ACROSS PARTS OF THE REGION BY MID WEEK. A WELL DEFINED TROPICAL
WAVE WILL FOLLOW BY FRIDAY...BRINGING WITH IT A GENERAL INCREASE
IN CLOUDINESS...SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS.
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Quoting extreme236:


Yeah, if no one quotes him or responds to him he will go away until he gets a new name and comes back tomorrow...lol
LOL!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting JamesSA:
Whoa! On the Viking Poseidon ROV 1 feed they are practicing to see if they can unbolt a riser flange with an ROV. It looks like that fat bodied socket has an interference problem and needs to go back topside for a little machining... But what this means is they are thinking of unbolting the flange so they can bolt a BOP valve onto the well. If they could do that there is the potential to totally stop the leak. Link

I am happy to see they are done messing around and thinking about actually fixing this.
That funny cause I thought they just needed to cut the bolts off and replace the hole top with another one with a valve on top. Then spot weld it, and shut the valve off..... That would stop the leak.... now that was a few days ago but anyway there it is....

Taco :o)
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Quoting masonsnana:
WOW Can I have this list of who we can and can't quote? I'm getting confused and need a beverage


Don't quote me as i will get Banned again.....JUST SAYING!
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4510. hydrus
Quoting masonsnana:
There are many of us from SWF here
I am from s.w.Florida. Was there for Charley and quite a few others.
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Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting DestinJeff:
Don't forget, when some people say they want fish storms it doesn't mean what you think ...

Link


LOL!!!
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Quoting extreme236:


Yeah, if no one quotes him or responds to him he will go away until he gets a new name and comes back tomorrow...lol


lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7726

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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.