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 masonsnana:
There are many of us from SWF here


That's great! I was just surprised when I saw Charlotte mentioned. So many people from many different places, it's kind of cool to see others that are nearby.
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Oh yeah!! Sorry, forgot not to quote.


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
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


He has had many names, I have ignore his last one

Please do not quote him for it takes away the effectiveness of the ignore feature
WOW Can I have this list of who we can and can't quote? I'm getting confused and need a beverage
Member Since: February 14, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 664
Quoting DestinJeff:


that graphic got squished like when the credits roll on old movies


HUM.......LOL
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Quoting StormStalker85:




I grew up in Port Charlotte as well. I was here for Charley and haven't left yet. It's great to see people on the blog from the area.
There are many of us from SWF here
Member Since: February 14, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 664
4490. beell
TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION...CORRECTION
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
805 PM EDT SUN JUN 06 2010


...TROPICAL WAVES...

TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 34W S OF 11N MOVING W AT 10-15 KT. THE
WAVE COINCIDES WITH A NORTHWARD MAXIMUM IN TOTAL PRECIPITABLE
WATER AND EXHIBITS CYCLONIC TURNING IN THE LOW-LEVEL CLOUD FIELD
IN THE VICINITY OF THE WAVE. GLOBAL MODEL GUIDANCE ALSO
INDICATES A 30-40 KT 600-700 MB AFRICAN EASTERLY JET TRAILING
EAST OF THE WAVE AXIS. WIDELY SCATTERED MODERATE CONVECTION IS
FROM 3N-10N BETWEEN 33W-38W
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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.

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


Not so sure on that as they lowered two LMRP earlier today. This is the second attempt on that bolt, they had a different tool and already went up to the surface once to get the one they are using now.
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Something to watch in the MDR as the Graphic above does show also
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Quoting Weather456:


I'm here.

------------------------------------

Look at it another way, if there was an invest, Dr. Masters would of updated his blog or tried to thus we would not have so many pages.
True.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting masonsnana:
NW Cape Coral


Quoting charlottefl:
Grew up in Port Charlotte, was there during Charley, but I live just north of Naples now, still have family there.



I grew up in Port Charlotte as well. I was here for Charley and haven't left yet. It's great to see people on the blog from the area.
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Thunderstorms, intense heavy rain and over the Annapolis Valley Nova Scotia. My basement pump is humming overtime.

Anyone know where I can find more detailed radar for N.S. than this: Link
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Where's 456?


I'm here.

------------------------------------

Look at it another way, if there was an invest, Dr. Masters would of updated his blog or tried to thus we would not have so many pages.
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Something to watch in the MDR.....good chance TOO!
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4477. bappit
Quoting Grothar:
My goodness, "24 Hours" had less intrigue than this blog. All I know is that we broke records here in SFL for heat. I t5hink the waves may be too low to develop. Any opinions?


Yes, too low, I think.
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4475. 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.
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4473. xcool


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
4472. bappit
Quoting Tazmanian:
the Ignore is kind of uless with the Quote


True.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
90 pages!!! And all pages without a single invest out at the time!
Insane huh!
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Quoting Dakster:
G-WPB-

I hear you. I have a 130lb Saint Bernard... When she gets scared it gets ugly.
Wow! He weighs more than me!
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Quoting DestinJeff:


Likes this.



Bad cyber-pun...
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4464. Dakster
G-WPB-

I hear you. I have a 130lb Saint Bernard... When she gets scared it gets ugly.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10276
Grew up in Port Charlotte, was there during Charley, but I live just north of Naples now, still have family there.

Quoting StormStalker85:
@masonsnana and charlottefl are you both in Port Charlotte?
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Where's 456?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
90 pages!!! And all pages without a single invest out at the time!
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Quoting StormStalker85:
@masonsnana and charlottefl are you both in Port Charlotte?
NW Cape Coral
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Sorr MH09.
No problem.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193

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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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