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 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: 21032
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
What is your problem you animal? Just get out of this blog, I don't need your crap and I'm sure I'll never need it. No one wants you here so it would be best if you went away. You dog.


ignore him hes goating you on don't go down to his level.
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4304. 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?
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Quoting ElConando:


STORMTOPS WEATHER OFFICE


That's a highly rated site. Must be so.
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4300. Patrap
www.facebook.com/DeepwaterHorizonResponse
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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.



I was looking at the GFS PV forecast, and I think I would have re-think that one. The one nearest the coast as you said seems like a good candidate also since its vort max is near 10N and is not expected to follow the ITCZ when it fully emerges.
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4298. xcool
omg get really old jfv stuff
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603


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Quoting Grothar:


Hey, I was out of the country, what do you want to start another fight. LOL


No. That'd be the last thing I'd want.

Just saying. ;)
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Quoting Grothar:
Boy, you guys are tough! OK atmo, your turn, go ahead and jump on me. I'm waiting.

Nope. Not when you are so thoroughly expecting it...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
4291. Patrap
What: Media tour will observe cleaning activities in the marsh and booming operations.

When: Monday June 7 – Friday June 11, 2010 10:00 a.m. CDT, Cocodrie, La. Tours will be about two to three hours in duration. Media must arrive a half-hour prior to the tour.

Where: 106 Pier 56, Chauvin, La. 70344

Who: A Coast Guard subject matter expert will accompany media aboard each tour.

Space is limited on the airboat. Media should call John Miller at 985-226-1561 one day in advance to reserve seats on tours.



For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.
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4289. IKE
I don't remember the Government denying BP anything to try and fix the oil volcano. Maybe I missed it. I can't find anything on it in google searching?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
the east atlantic wave will probable flare up and die off and on until it gets to carib then could form into something named. jmo
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We are actually going on to our third invest Grothar. They say the first thing to go is the mind :)
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Evening everyone...I see I missed an interesting weekend on the blog, LOL! Oh well, shot a 77 this afternoon in almost deadly humidty...
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Who is the "government" as well?

Was it the President or his cabinet? cause that's all that government is.
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4284. Patrap
NEXSAT GOM loop
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4283. Patrap
..Im so confused.
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Quoting TropicalWave:
456 or stormw, do eitehr one you guys see thatw ave gettingd esignated anytime soon?


Looking forward to the grammatical showdown between you and Drak! BTW, how is Christian doing?
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4280. Grothar
Boy, you guys are tough! OK atmo, your turn, go ahead and jump on me. I'm waiting.
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Pretty impressive flare-up of the wave west of Panama.
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4277. EricSFL
Quoting TropicalWave:
456 or stormw, do eitehr one you guys see thatw ave gettingd esignated anytime soon?


?
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Quoting Grothar:


Hey, I was out of the country, what do you want to start another fight. LOL
Lol.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


Source?


STORMTOPS WEATHER OFFICE
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4274. IKE
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


Source?


I'll 2nd those thoughts...source please?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting CycloneOz:
It looks like BPs latest attempt to capture oil from the gusher is working pretty good.

So now the media needs to report that it was the 1st method suggested by BP to the government, and the government said "NO!"

Then all you poor people on the Gulf will have the correct entity to blame!

LOL...if BP had done this right away like they wanted to in the first place, there wouldn't be near as much oil floating around in the Gulf right now!


A: The well is not working 'pretty well'. In fact, we don't know how well it's working as of right now because BP refuses to release actual pressure information. I assure you, actual engineers and rig workers over on TOD have been discussing this for ages, and they're not satisfied with what BP is saying.

B: Nice attempt to lay blame elsewhere, but this was not by any means the first option BP wanted to go through with. Nor would anyone with half a brain attempt THIS first. It's a PERMANENT cut, and certainly MUCH less desirable than a temporary capture system or any of the other methods they attempted. Take the conspiracy nonsense elswhere.
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4272. Grothar
Quoting KoritheMan:


Don't you mean our third? We've already had 90 and 91L.


Hey, I was out of the country, what do you want to start another fight. LOL
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Quoting TropicalWave:


you see what i mean, xcool? i've stopped posting on here for about the last 30 minutes, yet MiamiHurricane continues to make constant references to me, without I addressing them back to him. you see much of an isntigator he really is? just ignore him, bro, dont let the little boy annoy. remember he's a child, as oppose to us, whom are grown men and then some. it's just the inevitable nature of his beast, if you will. he cant help it, he needs to grow up, eitehr that, or puberty is arriving right on cue. LOL. he's got mcuh to learn about, regarding ''LIFE'', that is. Seriosuly though, just ignore him, and move along, Scott.


I just threw up in my mouth. Why does the 'E' always come b4 the 'H'?
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4269. xcool
LMAO.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
Quoting xcool:
92L NEXT
Yup.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
4267. MrsOsa
Silly question. Why is it when storms roll in everything outside just gets dark and grey, but when really severe weather, including hurricanes, are approaching it takes on a yellowish hue? Is there something different in the way he clouds filter the sun light?
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Quoting Grothar:
I think we will have our first Invest by tonight


Don't you mean our third? We've already had 90 and 91L.
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Missed it man. 90L happened last week in the w Caribbean.


Actually that was 91L

90L was between the Bahamas and Bermuda 2 weeks ago
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Quoting Grothar:
I think we will have our first Invest by tonight
We've already had 2! Lol.
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4262. xcool
92L NEXT
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
4259. xcool
WAVE AT 35W I GIVE 20%
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Missed it man. 90L happened last week in the w Caribbean.


You're both wrong lol

90L





91L was in the NW Caribbean.

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Quoting CycloneOz:
It looks like BPs latest attempt to capture oil from the gusher is working pretty good.

So now the media needs to report that it was the 1st method suggested by BP to the government, and the government said "NO!"

Then all you poor people on the Gulf will have the correct entity to blame!

LOL...if BP had done this right away like they wanted to in the first place, there wouldn't be near as much oil floating around in the Gulf right now!


Source?
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Quoting Grothar:
I think we will have our first Invest by tonight
Missed it man. 90L happened last week in the w Caribbean.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.