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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4356. trey33
CharLIE Crist hasn't done much except fly around with Jimmy Buffet on a photo tour....but then why would he? He's not one to actually DO something.
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Quoting xcool:





not too bad..



OMG THE WIND SHEAR HAD DROP OFF A LOT
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4352. Patrap
..Its gonna be a Long,Long Summa..Ike
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129844
4351. xcool





not too bad..
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting ElConando:


As the blog turns...
LMAO good one
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Quoting weather42009:
Thanks for the answer W456. When I go the site I noticed they have 310K, 315K and 320K PVs. What does these stand for and I notice you only use the 315K PVs?
Quoting GoodOleBudSir:


BaltimoreBirds: Please translate again




hmmm wish one of you is JFV????
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For those in Okaloosa County Florida, local businessmen are saying all bridges will be boomed by Wednesday blocking all the bayous. Poquito, Cinco, and Boggy will be boomed locking us in and everyone else out. East Pass was left open for Billy Bowlegs but will be closed this week. Okaloosa County web site will be the best source for the latest...
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Oh god, a fight. Ike, pull out some Jimmy Buffett to relax us.
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Quoting masonsnana:
This place is better than my daytime soaps LOL
Come on all, we're all here for the tropics, not a Sunday show down


As the blog turns...
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4343. Patrap
Audubon to start training Gulf oil spill volunteers
By The Associated Press
June 06, 2010, 4:35PM



The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point and the National Audubon Society will begin training volunteers Monday to work at the new Audubon Volunteer Response Center, which will help in the oil spill cleanup of the Mississippi coast.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129844
Quoting errantlythought:
PS, atmo: I'd be up for a cafe du monde run with everyone whenever you guys felt like it. Just give me a heads up for when, as I'm job hunting and might (hopefully) be out at odd times during the day :P

check your WUmail?
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Quoting TropicalWave:
Geeze, he's worst than a cancer. Hey Patrap, on a lighter note, I command gov. jindal for handling the oil disaster in LA superblyw ell, he's one heck of a governor, eh?


BaltimoreBirds: Please translate again
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4340. xcool



Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Thanks for the answer W456. When I go the site I noticed they have 310K, 315K and 320K PVs. What does these stand for and I notice you only use the 315K PVs?
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Quoting Tazmanian:
the Ignore is kind of uless with the Quote
I agree.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
at this rate where going too hit 6,000 commets by am
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PS, atmo: I'd be up for a cafe du monde run with everyone whenever you guys felt like it. Just give me a heads up for when, as I'm job hunting and might (hopefully) be out at odd times during the day :P
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the Ignore is kind of uless with the Quote
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4333. Patrap




*
Change of perspective for state lawmakers after tour over Gulf

Posted on June 6, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Updated today at 12:17 PM

Nearly a dozen Louisiana lawmakers boarded a helicopter for a nearly five hour tour Saturday afternoon and evening over the oil spill and clean up operations in the Gulf.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129844
This place is better than my daytime soaps LOL
Come on all, we're all here for the tropics, not a Sunday show down
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4330. IKE
Quoting DestinJeff:


Don't forget Arctic Sea-ice Extent!


LOL.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
4329. MrsOsa
Quoting EricSFL:
I have to say Gov. Jindal has been on top of things all along. But what has Mr. Independent Charlie Christ done so far about the approaching mess?


And all of us in MS are SORELY disappointed in our Governor. He and the Lt. Gov have made countless idiotic statements about how the oil spill is not that big of a deal and how we really don't smell oil it's "gasoline fumes" from our lawnmowers.
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4328. Patrap
Minister of Outrage

by Michael Luke / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on June 6, 2010 at 5:40 PM

Updated today at 5:44 PM

Early on a Friday morning inside the Emergency Operations Center in Belle Chasse, La., a crowded room is filled with chatter from National Guard advisors, Coast Guard officials, DEQ representatives, EPA agents, Plaquemines Parish officials and a smattering of media, both national and local, all awaiting the entrance of Plaquemines Parish President Nungesser.

Day 46 of the Gulf oil spill has arrived and to hear Nungesser, a man whose political star has risen fast while his parish is barely treading water, tell it, Plaquemines Parish once again is fighting for its life.

The imposing firebrand has been all over the airwaves – talk radio, cable talk shows, national news – and as passionately as he can, Nungesser will tell the story to anyone who will listen that his parish is dying.

The room goes silent as Nungesser enters and before he has barely sat down at the head of the large table for the Friday morning briefing, he simply asks, “Is there a rep from BP here today?”

“There will not be a rep from BP here today,” an assistant replies while looking down at the early morning reports.

Hours before he’s set to meet President Barack Obama, blood rushes to Nungesser’s face.

Another Oily Morning

It was about 8:15 a.m., and looking at his face, the morning was not off to a good start. More oil had washed ashore overnight -- two Plaquemines officials looking at digital photos said oil they found on the beaches was “like peanut butter” and “squirted like chocolate syrup” -- and the company responsible for the disaster, the one supposed to be leading the clean up, was nowhere to be found. He also was questioning whether a contractor hired to skim the waters was accurately reporting what resources they had deployed.

With no BP rep, the Coast Guard official, Capt. Sam Honea, would feel the brunt from Nungesser as he boiled over with news that there weren’t enough skimmer boats to attack the encroaching oil while other skimmer boats sat idle in warehouses. He seemed desperate.

“I’m telling you, Sam, we got to do something,” Nungesser said. “I’m getting told two different stories out of Venice. They denied our clean-up crews. It ain’t a good day. I’m gonna meet with the president, I wanna go with good news. We got oil all in Barataria Bay. We got one skimmer boat. That’s unacceptable.”

“We’ve been asking for a plan since Day 1 and we still haven’t gotten one,” he said, looking Honea directly in the eye. “Wiping the blades of grass ain’t cutting it.”

Barely audible to the large room, Honea said he would see what he could do.

Worried that he wasn’t getting enough material for the fight, with bureaucracy dragging down the response and learning that what resources he did have might be shifted from his parish to fight oil coming ashore in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, he threatened he would have his sheriff stop anyone trying to remove any equipment to fight the oil spill from Plaquemines.

Living in Disaster Limbo

Nungesser, a massive man with a gravely, booming voice and an outspoken nature, has become the face of outrage for the oil spill. The media is seeking out Nungesser because, unlike many government officials, he pulls no punches and says exactly what is on his mind; he is that man openly expressing the uncensored frustration the nation feels as oil chokes the coast of Louisiana.

But for him, it is personal, as his home has become ground zero.

Since the death of 11 oil rig workers aboard the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon and the arrival of oil on Louisiana's coast, emotions have changed rapidly: Initial shock turned to sadness, sadness turned to helplessness, vulnerability has turned to anger and finally to outrage at the inability to stop the millions of gallons of oil spewing from the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico fouling the wetlands.

Frustration has mounted as Americans watch real-time video from 5,000 feet deep in the ocean showing BP’s different missions -- Top Hat, Top Kill, Junk Shot -- all failing, meaning no end to the oil coming to the coast.

In the uncertainty and near endless nature of the crisis, finger-pointing has abounded, congressional hearings already are being held and criminal investigations are in progress. In this mix, political fortunes and careers have risen and fallen quickly in the need to find the some certainty in the wake of the oil spill, finding just who are the scapegoats, the villains, the negligent and the heroes.

Into this frustration, Nungesser has stepped in and seized the populist spotlight.

Despite an often wry smile, his face can’t hide the exhaustion of the past five years – riding out and surviving Hurricane Katrina at his home in Plaquemines, enduring and leading the parish government through hurricanes Ike and Gustav – and his body, which by his account has added 90 pounds to his frame, shows the physical wear and tear since he became parish president in 2007.

It was a tepid local response from Hurricane Katrina that propelled Nungesser, who was outraged then at the lack of leadership, to run for president of the parish. Living in a disaster limbo, he and his fiancée have been engaged for nearly five years since Katrina initially postponed their wedding. Then his election and two hurricanes, Ike and Gustav, got in the way.

“Every time we try to plan, we have a disaster,” he said. “It might be telling me something.”

And now he is facing an enormous crisis, this time environmental, in Plaquemines Parish. Working nearly around the clock, much like the additional weight he has carried since Katrina, his eyes show the emotional burden he is carrying on his back.

“I have to look the people in the eyes of this parish that are losing their livelihoods, and possibly forever,” he said later after the EOC briefing in his office as he described what is driving him relentlessly.

Since the spill started, he says he sleeps about three hours night. “I got four and a half one night and I did get to go see my mom once; so, it’s been a marathon.”

He says he’ll keep this pace up as long as it takes.

“I feel fine,” he assured, admitting that his mother had made him check his blood pressure when he visited her, which he said was normal, though his fiancée has seen her blood pressure spike from the stress.



The Most Wanted Man

Endowed with a larger-than-life persona and with deadly quick wit, Nungesser’s personality amid the crisis and long hours he is working shifts fast from using deep sarcasm to keep from crying to dead seriousness when he sees his parish being coated in oil. Parish spokesman Kurt Fromherz rattled off a laundry list of national media outlets that have interviewed or want interviews from Nungesser. “They want him,” he said simply.

And since the oil spill began, The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, NPR, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, Anderson Cooper, G4 TV, The Walton and Johnson Morning Show, and Sean Hannity have come calling. They are just some of the interviews granted or requested, according to Fromherz. He said Nungesser is only getting asked for more interviews every day.

“He says it like it is,” Fromherz said, trying to explain Nungesser’s soaring popularity, “and he doesn’t hold back.”

When BP CEO Tony Hayward doubted large plumes of oil were spotted in the waters of Plaquemines Parish, Nungesser responded bluntly, “Let’s take him out there, dunk him in the water and then pull him out. And when he comes out black, let’s ask him the same question.”

Sparing no one in his attempt to rescue his parish, Nungesser has admonished the president for not doing his job, railed against Coast Guard leadership and hammered almost anyone, especially BP, who he feels isn’t doing their job to help Plaquemines Parish.

“The minute that I feel we got the right teams responding quickly, you won’t see me in the press, you won’t see me bashing anybody.”

No Regrets

“I think I speak the truth and I speak from here,” Nungesser said, pointing at his heart to explain his blunt way of speaking publically. “My dad always told me, as long as I got right on my side, you can’t do no wrong.”

Asked about his popularity, he said, “I don’t know. I don’t really see the big deal. I got 4,000 e-mails at home… from people all over the country -- one from Africa, Australia -- complimenting me on my approach.

“I don’t walk in front that camera knowing what I’m gonna say. It just comes out and it’s not rehearsed.”

He said he has no regrets for his bombastic approach. But the only one he could think of since the disaster began was not pushing for the barrier island plan sooner, which after enough arm-twisting, has been approved. BP is expected to pick up the tab.

For all the sound bites and bluster that are making him a star on the news circuit, what is driving Nungesser becomes crystal clear when talking about the Plaquemines’ coast.

“I think that’s the toughest thing for me. I know what’s at risk, I know what’s at stake,” he said, emphasizing that 70 percent of migratory birds make homes in his parish, “and I don’t think America, I don’t think BP, surely doesn’t get it -- and I’m not sure the Coast Guard fully grasps it yet.”

But he is without a silver bullet or magic wand to plug the leak and his coast continues to get ruined, and it won’t go away tomorrow or the next day. So in the meantime, he makes his large presence felt to keep attention and pressure where he thinks it needs to be.

“If this oil wipes out coastal Louisiana -- and I still don’t think America understands the importance of these wetlands, these marshes -- until you’ve pulled into there with a boat and seen the fish jumping all over and the life in that marsh, you can’t really understand what’s dying,” he said.

“It’s not just a patch of grass.”
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129844
4327. Grothar
Quoting atmoaggie:

Nope. Not when you are so thoroughly expecting it...


Thanks atmo... I've always depended on the kindness of strangers.
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Quoting IKE:
4293....MiamiHurricane....you're going to get banned along with him. Maybe you all should go to the chat. This is a weather(tropics)/oil spill/GW/earthquake/volcano, blog.
Sorry. Just got caught up. I removed it and removed him from my view too. Now enough of that man.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting IKE:
4293....MiamiHurricane....you're going to get banned along with him. Maybe you all should go to the chat. This is a weather(tropics)/oil spill/GW/earthquake/volcano, blog.


you forgot one type of weather topic for winter time. frozen precip potential in the south
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SW here's the wave on Tuesday, well north of the ITCZ

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Quoting EricSFL:
I have to say Gov. Jindal has been on top of things all along. But what has Mr. Independent Charlie Christ done so far about the approaching mess?


Good question to research, hes been on it with disasters in the past. Maybe not being talked about as much. For some reason some tend to think Florida does not exist on the gulf coast.
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Quoting StormW:


You have a link for the PV forecast?


Yea on my blog, the fourth link under "links to follow tropical waves"
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Quoting ElConando:


ignore him hes goating you on don't go down to his level.
I'm sorry. I had him ignored but someone quoted him and it really got me pist.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
4311. xcool
(I can feel in the air 92L COME SOON
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
4310. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Patrap:
..Im so confused.
its been confusing
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4309. IKE
4293....MiamiHurricane....you're going to get banned along with him. Maybe you all should go to the chat. This is a weather(tropics)/oil spill/GW/earthquake/volcano, blog.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting StormW:


Fairly strong for so early in June, for one.

And I've been reading what 456 has been posting...and he has it right on the money...out of the 2, I would say the one closest to Africa may be the better candidate.

The one near 35W is in the ITCZ. You see, when a wave is in the ITCZ, it has to compete for the convection current that naturally occurs along the ITCZ, with other convective activity near it. That's one reason it's a constant battle, seeing areas within the same wave flareup, diminish, then flare again in another portion of the wave. That's why you'll here a lot of us say it has to break free from the ITCZ, not to say, however, that slow development can't occur. Both should have almost favorable conditions as they cross the Atlantic.
Thanks Storm!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194

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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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