Long range oil spill forecast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:02 PM GMT on June 04, 2010

Share this Blog
4
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 4256 - 4206

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105Blog Index

Quoting Grothar:
I think we will have our first Invest by tonight
Missed it man. 90L happened last week in the w Caribbean.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


Hey 456!
Hey Storm! What's your take on these impressive African waves?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
4253. IKE
Westbound wave in the eastern Atlantic...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
4252. xcool
MiamiHurricanes09 more page come just wait..
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
Quoting TropicalWave:


thanks, would taht be because of it's profound circulation?


Mainly becuz these two keep some level vorticity as they end west.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4250. pottery
Well, Good Evening.
I see youall were having fun while I was outside mowing grass and sweating.
Instead of getting into fights, some of you hot-blooded youngsters could come by and help out, you know! We Old People need all kinds of help.
Going to have a shower and fix some food ( I am a Bachelor these days, and it is very tedious).
If I dont come back in a few hours, I may have fallen over and broke my hip. Call 911.
Life is Hard, man.

Also, thinking about something--- what is it that makes a bunch of people, young, old, cantankerous, benign, and boisterous, spend an entire weekend talking about the weather?
Something I will be thinking about, for the next 8 minutes or so. Very Strange.

p.s. Waves looking good...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24142
4249. Grothar
I think we will have our first Invest by tonight
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting spathy:
MasonsN
Ike and I were talking earlier about our regular rainy pattern starting up.
I hope this pans out.
And Grother.
Werent you in the theater with me?
My memory is fading the older I get!


Oh thank you and I hope this is true. I couldn't mow this weekend too hot and I'm to old LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


Hey 456!


Hey SW. Did you see my comment this morning? Just wanted to say thanks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalWave:


thanks, would taht be because of it's profound circulation?


Actually, because of its unemotional circulation.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting xcool:
85 page now wow
That's crazy huh? Imagine when the things really get going.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting Ameister12:
Phet has really organized over land.
It is currently located in a very moist region over the Indus river and its associated swamps. Sort of like how storms can reorganize over the Everglades.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4240. xcool



Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
Quoting atmoaggie:
While some of the damage is very bad and a EF3 is very possible, a lot of the damage is to structures that still stand.

Even the high school:


Should be able to repair, not bulldoze.


We had a tornado on mothers day of 08, and several of the buildings it hit weren't standing anymore, and it was rated a high end EF2 with 130 mph winds. It was the scariest thing of my life, and I was horrified for a month looking at ruins, yet it seems so small compared to what a lot of these folks are going through in Illinois, may God be with them.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
That's a very nice image. Can you give me the link?


LINK
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4235. Grothar
A SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY HAS BEEN ISSUE FOR EAST CENTRAL BROWARD COUNTY FOR FREQUENT TO EXCESSIVE LIGHTNING... .

AT 624 PM EDT... NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS HAVE DETECTED STRONG THUNDERSTORMS ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM COCONUT CREEK TO LAUDERHILL... MOVING EAST AT 10 MPH.

THESE STORMS WILL AFFECT...

LAUDERDALE LAKES... NORTH POMPANO BEACH... FORT LAUDERDALE... POMPANO BEACH AIRPORT... LIGHTHOUSE POINT... FORT LAUDERDALE BEACH...

AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4234. xcool
85 page now wow
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
4233. IKE
Nice loop of the eastern ATL..
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting TropicalWave:
456, a quick question, which of the 3 waves/lows shows the most potential to develop according to your expertise, for now, sir?


the ones near 35W and 15E
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4231. JamesSA
Quoting Weather456:


Only if we expect them to develop in the EATL. Otherwise it does matter what lat they emerge as they end up in the Caribbean. The wave near 35W emerged around 5-8N and it is expected to enter the Caribbean and bring showers to the Leewards and Puerto Rico later this week.

I guess it matters where one lives then whether they are a cause for concern. :-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:
NASA MODIS Aqua of the wave

That's a very nice image. Can you give me the link?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Phet has really organized over land.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4226. Grothar
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Grothar, it's a Seinfeld blog. It's a blog about nothing. I like reading Drakoen and Weather456's posts, but there's so much dreck in here it's hardly worth it.


$5 bucks says you are right. LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JamesSA:
Aren't we more concerned about them when start coming off a little north of 10 degrees?


Only if we expect them to develop in the EATL. Otherwise it does matter what lat they emerge as they end up in the Caribbean. The wave near 35W emerged around 5-8N and it is expected to enter the Caribbean and bring showers to the Leewards and Puerto Rico later this week.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4224. xcool
ngp show 30w wave.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
4222. Grothar
Quoting spathy:


Looks like its going to be a bumpy season:o(


Oh, you remember that movie?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4221. IKE
18Z NOGAPS showing the EATL waves
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
NASA MODIS Aqua of the wave

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4218. GBguy88
This is a little random, but given all the "projections" and the chance for an active season, what do you guys think the odds are of another situation like Humberto? I'd hate to be the guy that gets caught by surprise like that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4216. JamesSA
Quoting Weather456:


yes anyone of those 3 has the potential to develop done the road. The problem is we don't if they will take advantage of this potential.
Aren't we more concerned about them when start coming off a little north of 10 degrees?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:


yes anyone of those 3 has the potential to develop done the road. The problem is we don't if they will take advantage of this potential.
I understand.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Storms came by and cooled us off, but again, not much rain. 0.06" at the house, 0.14" officially. We did drop below last night's low, reaching 74.7 this afternoon---morning low was 75.4

Not as hot as yesterday, but more humid.
We need the rains in SWF just can't get out of this backwards pattern UGH
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4212. xcool
MiamiHurricanes09 thank alot
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
Quoting xcool:
MiamiHurricanes09 stoppppp plz i'm asking you nices
I'm sorry, I'm one of the ones that's been wanting it to stop, I was just making a dumb joke.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Do you see any of these waves emerging off of Africa becoming something down the road?


yes anyone of those 3 has the potential to develop done the road. The problem is we don't if they will take advantage of this potential.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
J Edgar Hoover edit: got cut off.

J Edgar Hoover would be wondering why there are no hurricanes yet.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
Is it safe to come back on now?

Not for you, pal!
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461

Viewing: 4256 - 4206

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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