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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5156. MahFL
Most of the MDR seems to be at 25 C or so. Is it 26 or 28 you normally need for developmeant ?
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5155. breald
Quoting CycloneOz:


It seems you will be busy chasing down storms this hurricane season. I hope it is not as bad as they think it will be.
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Wow, that is weird #5137,
Watching dry weather move east from Africa, and East across the Pacific. I must be reading that wrong, but the legend says time progresses and it moves down.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Wow, still no update from Jeff Masters. I also see that the GFS is showing a system in the GOM for two consecutive runs. And the wave train continues.



dr m will update hils blog when he feels like updateing the blog
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Quoting IKE:
Common blog sayings in June....

(1)It's suppose to be quiet, it's June.
(2)A named storm only happens 1 out of every 2 years in June.
(3)Just wait til July.
(4)The season doesn't really begin until August.
(5)0-0-0.
(6)SST's are really heating up.
(7)We can't even get an invest!



noteded
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Wow, still no update from Jeff Masters. I also see that the GFS is showing a system in the GOM for two consecutive runs. And the wave train continues.


He normally updates by Midday.
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5148. IKE
Common blog sayings in June....

(1)It's suppose to be quiet, it's June.
(2)A named storm only happens 1 out of every 2 years in June.
(3)Just wait til July.
(4)The season doesn't really begin until August.
(5)0-0-0.
(6)SST's are really heating up.
(7)We can't even get an invest!
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5147. Makoto1
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


I have to ask accuweather,where are the cool sea surface temperatures they are talking about?



I think they mean the actual temperatures, not SST anomalies. It's still decently cool out there.
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Quoting IKE:

Tropics Quiet in the Atlantic Basin
Jun 7, 2010 7:13 AM

As of Monday morning, EDT, a series of three tropical waves were found over the open North Atlantic Ocean. None of these waves are forecast to show any significant development for at least the next 48 hours due to moderate wind shear and cool sea surface water temperatures. The rest of the Atlantic remains very quiet.

By AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Justin Povick.


I have to ask accuweather,where are the cool sea surface temperatures they are talking about?

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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Well the MJO doesn't completely stop tropical development, it just lowers it. I think we could see development from these African waves down the road. Well I'm off, later all.
Thank You! That's why people over WU are still looking at models and other AOIs.
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I'll be having an analysis on what the GFS is showing this evening. Now I'm really leaving.
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5143. IKE

Tropics Quiet in the Atlantic Basin
Jun 7, 2010 7:13 AM

As of Monday morning, EDT, a series of three tropical waves were found over the open North Atlantic Ocean. None of these waves are forecast to show any significant development for at least the next 48 hours due to moderate wind shear and cool sea surface water temperatures. The rest of the Atlantic remains very quiet.

By AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Justin Povick.
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Quoting Makoto1:
Beginning of summer break for people in school and all could be helping too. Always hard to figure out what to do really early on there.
My summer begins this Thursday, after that summer.
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5141. IKE
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT MON JUN 7 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER AVILA

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Quoting IKE:


I agree. I wouldn't be shocked if it doesn't take until July....

MJO looks rather suppressed.....






Anticipation is high in 2010. Five-thousand + posts over nothing.
Well the MJO doesn't completely stop tropical development, it just lowers it. I think we could see development from these African waves down the road. Well I'm off, later all.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Wow, still no update from Jeff Masters. I also see that the GFS is showing a system in the GOM for two consecutive runs. And the wave train continues.
Yea...its quite interesting.




Got this from Weather456. One of his comments.
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5138. Makoto1
Beginning of summer break for people in school and all could be helping too. Always hard to figure out what to do really early on there.
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5137. IKE
Quoting futuremet:


Nothing will likely happen until the latter part of June. At the moment, a deep layered that hinders surface convergence is situated over the western Caribbean. The subtropical jet is also expected to kink farther south during much of next week.


I agree. I wouldn't be shocked if it doesn't take until July....

MJO looks rather suppressed.....




Quoting Makoto1:
Morning, 59 F here.

Easy to forget that very little is supposed to happen in June, but through the first week it's held pretty much to form.


Anticipation is high in 2010. Five-thousand + posts over nothing.
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Coral Gables, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 6 min 1 sec ago
Overcast
80.1 °F
Overcast
Humidity: 85%
Dew Point: 75 °F
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 3.0 mph
Pressure: 29.92 in (Rising)
Heat Index: 86 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds:
Mostly Cloudy 14000 ft
Overcast 25000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 21 ft
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5135. Makoto1
Morning, 59 F here.

Easy to forget that very little is supposed to happen in June, but through the first week it's held pretty much to form.
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Wow, still no update from Jeff Masters. I also see that the GFS is showing a system in the GOM for two consecutive runs. And the wave train continues.
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5133. Motttt
I lived in Las Cruces and Ruidoso by the horse trak back in the late 70's
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Quoting IKE:
Good morning to all.

75.7 at my house this morning.

00Z ECMWF through June 17th.


6Z GFS through June 23rd.


Nothing will likely happen until the latter part of June. At the moment, a deep layered that hinders surface convergence is situated over the western Caribbean. The subtropical jet is also expected to kink farther south during much of next week.
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5131. IKE
Good morning to all.

75.7 at my house this morning.

00Z ECMWF through June 17th.


6Z GFS through June 23rd.
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Good morning everyone....anything going on in the tropics?
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Tropical Update

See yall a little later
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5128. Motttt
Sarasota, Florida (Airport)
Updated: 13 min 47 sec ago
83 °F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 85%
Dew Point: 78 °F
Wind: 8 mph from the West
Pressure: 29.96 in (Rising)
Heat Index: 93 °F
Visibility: 8.0 miles

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Good Morning everyone, 78.4 here in zephyrhills fl. Going to be hot hot hot today
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5125. Motttt
Hey OZ. Didn't you get a lot of lighting storms last nite?
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5124. Motttt
so I guess that means I can clean out me iggey list now?
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5122. RTLSNK
And now for some good news, at least for this blog. It seems that Admin came in here last night and did some major cleanup work. Many comments have been replaced by empty space. Thanks guys and/or gals, hope it stays that way.
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5121. Motttt
I don't want to see what will look like if that happens but it will come in time soon
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My concern is what a tropical storm in the GOM will do the oil later this month if the GFS verifies.
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5119. Motttt
They spent all nite trying to take off (that it looked like to me)welled on nuts with a impack rinch
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5118. Motttt
456 hope you don't get any oil spills..
Link
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Quoting Motttt:
Morning 456.. hope you got some sleep..I read every thing that you put on the blog but a little hard for me to understand .. thanks


Morning

yea, the genesis of tropical waves is not a simply process since I have been studying them for quite some years now.
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5115. Motttt
Morning 456.. hope you got some sleep..I read every thing that you put on the blog but a little hard for me to understand .. thanks
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5114. Motttt
We have 3 rov's taking pics of the well leaking and 1 rov taking a pic of them???
What are they doing down there??

Link
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2 consecutive runs so far

Good morning, btw

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5112. RTLSNK
This looked even worse an hour ago, at one point there were 12 seperate cells showing. One of them was a 42,000 footer with 1.25" hail.
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5111. Motttt
BP releases apology ad: phony or heartfelt?
Link
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Looks like the Monsoon Season has started in Arizona and New Mexico.......wow!



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5109. xcool
lmao .damm websites
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Quoting xcool:
Hurricanes101 nooway. ??


yes way lol
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5107. xcool
Hurricanes101 nooway. ??
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Quoting xcool:
Link


new ecmwf


It is not updated all the way

It is only updated through 48 hours, there are 2 frames that say Wednesday
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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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