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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She's not JFV... this blog is ridiculous at times. I wish everyone would just forget and ignore JFV but everyone has practically made him out to be a celebrity. Is there ever a page on here without his name on it??
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4153. beell
For me, it comes down to the only control I can excercise on this blog. My participation.
There is no other control here.

Sometimes it's worth the investment of time. Sometimes not. But I certainly do not expect the rest of the bloggers here to conform to my definition of "worthy". This would be a pretty boring blog if that were the case.

To each, his/her own.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
i think that wave will be are 1st cat 5

Woah! Kinda extreme.
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Quoting extreme236:
These waves look more like those we would start seeing in late July and into August not early June.




tell that too the waves lol
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4148. JLPR2
Quoting extreme236:
These waves look more like those we would start seeing in late July and into August not early June.


yep, they look excessively healthy
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4147. xcool
wave come off Africa interesting to see How Long can last & can hold together hmmmm
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Quoting Ameister12:
Sounds like the tornado that killed 7 people near Toledo might get a ratting of EF4.

From Wikipedia:
Severe damage in the area with many houses damaged or destroyed. Lake High School was completely destroyed as well. Lake Township's municipal building was also heavily damaged.

Seems wiki must be written by the same personality as the national news media...

"The tornado ripped the roof and back wall off Lake High School's gymnasium about 11 p.m."
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/06/06/1666248/4-killed-in-heavy-storms-sweeping.html

Though, even the AP doesn't postulate "completely destroyed". Wiki is alone in the sensationalism direction of misinformation, it seems.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
EF5 is indeed total devastation, but it can be compact total devastation. Doesn't have to destroy the entire town.

Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Well I agree completely with EF4, but EF5 is total devastation.

Greensburg before and after:
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
These waves look more like those we would start seeing in late July and into August not early June.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
i think that wave will be are 1st cat 5


I highly doubt that
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7688
4139. JLPR2
Quoting Tazmanian:
i think that wave will be are 1st cat 5


Whoa! O_o
That would surprise me
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4138. xcool
Tazmanian "I agree ..
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Quoting Ameister12:

I totally agree. Why wouldn't it be rated EF4 (possible EF5) when it completely destroyed a high school and quite a bit of the town.


Well I agree completely with EF4, but EF5 is total devastation.

Greensburg before and after:
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i think that wave will be are 1st cat 5
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4135. gator23
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Please stop. If he annoys you just ignore him.


he wont stop so I wont. and ignoring him doesnt work. I will fight him off as I please as he has RUINED this blog time and time again.
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The Severe weather is again firing in Illinois, this time heading towards the tornado damage in Kankakee County.

Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
4133. xcool
JLPR2 haha
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Quoting Weather456:




Any wave that has high amplitude over Central-Eastern Africa will generate a rather vigorous signatures when it nears the coast. If you extrapolate the wave's position (since they only travel west), using continuity and numerical models, you can predict when a wave emerges. After you have the "when" you look at the environmental conditions that would support convection (upward MJO, active ITCZ, warm SSTs, and easterly shear in the AEJ). However, the strength of the AEJ is the single most important tool in predicting intensity of waves. The GFS had a vort max in the AEJ, right near the coast on June 5-7, which was the same time-frame as our wave.


Interesting, might have to start looking at that
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7688
4131. IKE
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Guys lets stop making fun of jfv,a matter of fact lets forgive him.If you forgive you will forget.Lets make a truce.
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
To miamihurricanes.I don't know what went on back their but that was uncalled for.


You know, you remind me of someone.
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this wait in tell AUG
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Quoting gator23:


How did I insult you?
Please stop. If he annoys you just ignore him.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting Hurricanes101:
someone asked a really good question before 456

How do you know ahead of time what waves are going to be more robust? You had this one pegged a week ago


Quoting weather42009:


How did you know this wave would be so strong, I knew you said it last week, but is there a secret key to predicting waves?


Any wave that has high amplitude over Central-Eastern Africa will generate a rather vigorous signatures when it nears the coast. If you extrapolate the wave's position (since they only travel west), using continuity and numerical models, you can predict when a wave emerges. After you have the "when" you look at the environmental conditions that would support convection (upward MJO, active ITCZ, warm SSTs, and easterly shear in the AEJ). However, the strength of the AEJ is the single most important tool in predicting intensity of waves. The GFS had a vort max in the AEJ, right near the coast on June 5-7, which was the same time-frame as our wave.

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4127. JLPR2
Quoting xcool:



drop like boom boom pow


Shear is just ignoring the climatology line -_-
how rude, no? lol!
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Quoting Ameister12:

I totally agree. Why wouldn't it be rated EF4 (possible EF5) when it completely destroyed a high school and quite a bit of the town.


Alot of it has to do with the local NWS WFO as well, the one in Chicago is conservative which is why the tornadoes here are at most going to be EF2 while the one in Northern Indiana is liberal and often asses things as EF3. Im not sure about the WFO in that region though....
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
4124. Ossqss
Did we lose our hot spot in the Carib? I don't have the links to the SST's or sea height stuff on this PC I am fixing. TIA
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting xcool:



coool ;)






that 1st photo posted by xcool looks like the wave even has banneding on it
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4122. scott39
Quoting Weather456:


Any wave that has high amplitude over Central-Eastern Africa will generate a rather vigorous signatures when it nears the coast. If you extrapolate the wave's position (since they only travel west), using continuity and numerical models, you can predict when a wave emerges. After you have the "when" you look at the environmental conditions that would support convection (upward MJO, active ITCZ, warm SSTs, and easterly shear in the AEJ). They you can determine how strong it is. It's no big secret, just normal forecasting.
Hows the wave action for june 2010 compared to other active seasons?
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4121. gator23
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I'm ignoring all your insults gator.Keep on talking.Anyway back to more important things.


How did I insult you?
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TORNADO WARNING
NEC049-101-135-062245-
/O.NEW.KLBF.TO.W.0038.100606T2208Z-100606T2245Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORTH PLATTE NE
408 PM MDT SUN JUN 6 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORTH PLATTE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EASTERN DEUEL COUNTY IN THE PANHANDLE OF NEBRASKA...
SOUTHWESTERN KEITH COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST NEBRASKA...
NORTHWESTERN PERKINS COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST NEBRASKA...

* UNTIL 445 PM MDT

* AT 407 PM MDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED 6 MILES NORTHEAST OF BIG SPRINGS...AND MOVING
SOUTHEAST AT 25 MPH.

* THIS DANGEROUS STORM WILL BE NEAR...
BRULE AROUND 420 PM MDT.
OGALLALA AROUND 435 PM MDT.

OTHER LOCATIONS IMPACTED BY THIS DANGEROUS STORM INCLUDE INTERSTATE
80 MILE MARKER 120 AND HIGHWAY 61 MILE MARKER 80.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

TO REPORT SEVERE WEATHER...CONTACT YOUR NEAREST LAW ENFORCEMENT
AGENCY. THEY WILL RELAY YOUR REPORT TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
IN NORTH PLATTE.

&&

LAT...LON 4122 10210 4122 10206 4125 10205 4127 10203
4111 10155 4082 10183 4114 10220
TIME...MOT...LOC 2208Z 298DEG 23KT 4113 10199

$$

KECK
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting Weather456:
Just like 2008, warm ssts off the coast of Africa enhanced thunderstorm activity. I did say the wave that emerge last week will take second place to this one emerging as we speak. This one will take second place because there is another one near Nigeria that will emerge with a surface circulation. The waves are getting more and more intense. It should be noted that the wave that spawned Dennis emerged mid-June. One of these three waves have the potential to develop later this month.





that wave out there with the 1008mb looks looks like it may have a ch i all so think if it holds togeter we may see 92L
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4118. xcool



drop like boom boom pow
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4117. Grothar
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.
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Quoting MrstormX:


Greg Forbes (Clearly on of the few good left at TWC) said it could go EF4 or EF5.

I totally agree. Why wouldn't it be rated EF4 (possible EF5) when it completely destroyed a high school and quite a bit of the town.
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Quoting Relix:


Yeah xcool is a good guy. I just wished he could capitalize some letters! Haha! Anyway, on to weather guys.
You can't have it both ways. I really like xcool but it's either caps or common letters but not mixed.
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someone asked a really good question before 456

How do you know ahead of time what waves are going to be more robust? You had this one pegged a week ago
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7688
Quoting Weather456:
The low over W Africa is one of these secondary circulations associated with African Thermal Trough I discussed on my blog. Their relationship to tropical waves is "twin vorticity centers" where there is an area of vort along the wave axis near the AEJ and north of the axis. That "L" is the vort max north of the wave axis. Isn't directly associated with the AEW.

I knew it!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
This is kinda bad news, a mini severe outbreak is occurring near Chicago (there was none forecasted) all of the sudden storms are being severe warned. One just went over my house and we got penny size hail, the last thing Illinois needs is more storms.

Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting Weather456:
The low over W Africa is one of these secondary circulations associated with African Thermal Trough I discussed on my blog. Their relationship to tropical waves is "twin vorticity centers" where there is an area of vort along the wave axis near the AEJ and north of the axis. That "L" is the vort max north of the wave axis. Isn't directly associated with the AEW.



ah ok, I thought the 1005mb low over north Africa was the permanent one, didnt know there were 2 of them
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7688
4106. xcool



coool ;)


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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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