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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4106. xcool



coool ;)


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15669
Quoting HurricaneKyle:


This is a late July style wave, with late July style conditions. Very impressive.


so that means it could develop lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7677
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.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


CANES!!!


Evening Hawk. You'll know where i'll be in just a second.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:


Oh my....


This is a late July style wave, with late July style conditions. Very impressive.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Ameister12:

There was one in Monroe County. An EF2 hit Dundee, MI. The good thing is no one died.


Thankfully no one died, but I got family in Temperance, some of them on the elderly side, and I wanted to make sure none hit there.
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4100. Grothar
Quoting caneswatch:


Please tell me no tornadoes hit Monroe Co., MI. I got family up there and i'm worried about them.


CANES!!!
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Quoting extreme236:


I agree completely.
Me too.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
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.


Greg Forbes (Clearly on of the few good left at TWC) said it could go EF4 or EF5.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
4095. JLPR2
Quoting xcool:
<< dam me caps LOCK


haha!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4094. xcool
GIVE IT 24HR
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15669
Quoting Weather456:


Persistence,

June oceanic environment more than often does not support convection associated with TWs. The wave is being aided by warm ssts since the ssts near the African coast are the same as over land where the wave got its energy. we would have to see of it keeps this convection has it heads west.


I agree completely.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4092. xcool
<< dam me caps LOCK
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15669
Sounds like the tornado that killed 7 people near Toledo might get a rating 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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4090. JLPR2
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


I doubt they'll acknowledge it.



yep, not enough time on water, maybe on the next one if it persists
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.




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?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4088. xcool
18Z SHOWS 1008 MB LOW.HMMMM
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15669
Quoting extreme236:
I'm curious if the wave is interesting enough to get any attention from the NHC in it's TWO.


I doubt they'll acknowledge it.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:


Oh my....
Yeah I saw it. I don't it's associated with the wave emerging now though.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
4083. JLPR2
Quoting Weather456:


Oh my....


yep
The Sat animation I posted a little while ago shows the low spinning just off the coast.
:S
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4082. gator23
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Some bloggers told me that the european had nailed last years forecast.And for this year it was forecasting a wetter sal which means more tropical waves which we are seeing now.

Which bloggers JFVster? ^_^
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting extreme236:
I'm curious if the wave is interesting enough to get any attention from the NHC in it's TWO.


Persistence,

June oceanic environment more than often does not support convection associated with TWs. The wave is being aided by warm ssts since the ssts near the African coast are the same as over land where the wave got its energy. we would have to see of it keeps this convection has it heads west.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4080. txjac
Gulfcoastdweller ...yes, Ohio gets tornados. I am originally from there and remember tornadoes from my youth. We had a terrible hit in Xenia Ohio one year.
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Quoting caneswatch:


Please tell me no tornadoes hit Monroe Co., MI. I got family up there and i'm worried about them.

There was one in Monroe County. An EF2 hit Dundee, MI. The good thing is no one died.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting gulfcoastdweller:


I don't follow all the warning as close as yall do but is it common for tornados to hit so far north as Mich and upper Ohio?


Yes an EF2 tornado did hit Monroe County, Michigan. And also yes Tornadoes are quite common in the region.
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.


Pretty scary huh.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting Weather456:


Oh my....


actually 18Z lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7677
Quoting Hurricanes101:


12Z surface chart showed a 1008mb low with the wave coming off Africa now
Quoting Hurricanes101:


12Z surface chart showed a 1008mb low with the wave coming off Africa now


Oh my....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
ILC031-043-062215-
/O.NEW.KLOT.SV.W.0031.100606T2145Z-100606T2215Z/

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL
445 PM CDT SUN JUN 6 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHICAGO HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
CENTRAL COOK COUNTY IN NORTHEAST ILLINOIS...
DUPAGE COUNTY IN NORTHEAST ILLINOIS...

* UNTIL 515 PM CDT

* AT 443 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN
EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THESE STORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING
FROM CAROL STREAM TO WINFIELD TO WARRENVILLE...AND MOVING EAST AT
30 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
CAROL STREAM...WHEATON...NAPERVILLE...GLEN ELLYN...LISLE...
LOMBARD...YORK CENTER...DOWNERS GROVE...VILLA PARK...WESTMONT...OAK
BROOK...ELMHURST...HINSDALE...WESTCHESTER...LA GRANGE...BURR
RIDGE...WOODRIDGE...CLARENDON HILLS...DARIEN AND WESTERN SPRINGS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCE DAMAGING WIND IN EXCESS OF 60 MILES PER
HOUR...DESTRUCTIVE HAIL...DEADLY LIGHTNING...AND VERY HEAVY RAIN. FOR
YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF YOUR
HOME OR BUSINESS. HEAVY RAINS FLOOD ROADS QUICKLY SO DO NOT DRIVE
INTO AREAS WHERE WATER COVERS THE ROAD.

&&

LAT...LON 4191 8790 4184 8786 4178 8788 4171 8798
4172 8803 4173 8804 4173 8806 4178 8827
4184 8822 4194 8821
TIME...MOT...LOC 2145Z 280DEG 27KT 4190 8815 4186 8813
4182 8815 4180 8818
WIND...HAIL 60MPH <.50IN

$$
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
4072. gator23
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
All I was trying to do was make peace.Is making peace a crime.How is trying to make peace make you jfv???


Because you would be supporting someone who has derailed this blog time and time again dont you agree Birdster? ^_^
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm curious if the wave is interesting enough to get any attention from the NHC in it's TWO.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.




18Z surface chart showed a 1008mb low with the wave coming off Africa now
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7677
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
He's got y'all played like a freakin harp.

Cant believe you still dont see it.



Yes, it seems our friend is having a great conversation amongst his various alts. I'm blocking them as they pop up.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting extreme236:


Very interesting.
Yeah last year only 5 or 6 emerged by this time, we are already up to 17 so far. A sign of things to come.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
4064. JLPR2
Quoting Relix:
I am starting to think the WU admins barely moderate the blog =/. They need more people.


once a storm forms they start watching more carefully, I remember last year lol, it was like
troll: blah blah blah...
F5 *refresh*
Gone...
^^
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4063. gator23
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
The itcz is indeed active.The european model had suggusted this.If the european model is indeed correct then it will be one of the best modles out there.


So this would suggest that the European model is good is that right sir? ^_^?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thats just abut enough, I said I was done talking about this but things here have gone to far. You guys are out of control, quit talking about this and it will go away. Clearly you people did not read, "When using Dr. Masters' blog, please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself. Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering. Material not conforming to these standards should be flagged with the button and ignored."
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting extreme236:
Off of TWC's website:

Closer to home, the Pacific and Atlantic Basins remain quiet. A disturbance moving off the African coast looks fairly robust for so early in the season.


It sure does
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7677
Quoting Ameister12:

Unfortunately, 7 people died near Toledo, OH.


Please tell me no tornadoes hit Monroe Co., MI. I got family up there and i'm worried about them.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Off of TWC's website:

Closer to home, the Pacific and Atlantic Basins remain quiet. A disturbance moving off the African coast looks fairly robust for so early in the season.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Dang...too bad.

Good thing the tornado outbreak in the NE didnt materialize.
Yeah. Thank God there were no tornadoes in New York city, that could have been very bad.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
4056. JLPR2
Quoting KoritheMan:


Insulting people in Spanish, when many people don't know the language, is one of them. That enough, or shall I say more?


That's enough, how dare he use my language to insult people, I should insult him in Spanish, that way I would level the playing field. ^^
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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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