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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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. ^^
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR2:
I love this Africa loop
Someone posted it a few days ago and I immediately loved it ^^
Link
Great Satellite - from the land that gave us Jacob Bjerknes!
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Quoting IKE:
ITCZ getting active for early June. I don't recall it being that way so early in 2009.


Very interesting.
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that turned out bigger than I thought it would...

http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-behave-on-an-internet-forum
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Good afternoon everyone! The Wave Train has Begun!
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:



Ignore and move on...

Thank you. At first it was funny now it's just a bother.
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I know what to do!!! Let's create JFV "hall monitors." We could get jackets and everything! Seriously, just ignore him. I don't remember him posting much during the active part of last year anyway...
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Quoting Ameister12:

Unfortunately, 7 people died near Toledo, OH.


Dang...too bad.

Good thing the tornado outbreak in the NE didnt materialize.
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.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 602 Comments: 21464
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Well my grandmother told me to forgive your enemies.Anyway what did he do to make people upset.Iv'e heard plenty.


he attacks people, he has been banned 3 times in the last month and continues to create new accounts; and apparently he has been doing this for years I guess
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
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.
We know that you are JFV so enough. Now enough of JFV, really.
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4043. gator23
Quoting TropicalWave:


Indeed, Ike. Scary, ain't it?


So what your saying is that this is scary, is that right sir? ^_^
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4042. JLPR2
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Well my grandmother told me to forgive your enemies.Anyway what did he do to make people upset.Iv'e heard plenty.


ah! There is quite a background and history for this situation. -.-
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


your kidding right?



Ignore and move on...

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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
51 tornado reports yesterday.

2 fatal last I heard.


Unfortunately, 7 people died near Toledo, OH.
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This JFV thing and the trolls are out of control. Admin please do something????????????????????????????????????????
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4035. JLPR2
Quoting xcool:



1008 LOW..


oh that!
yeah *scratches head*
isn't there SAL in that area?
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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.


your kidding right?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
4032. xcool



1008 LOW..
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
4029. JLPR2
Quoting xcool:






CAN I GET AAA BIG WOW...


yeah... wow..

That's the nicest vorticity any wave has shown so far
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Quoting xcool:






CAN I GET AAA BIG WOW...

wow

Fer what, anyway?
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
51 tornado reports yesterday.

2 fatal last I heard.



7 total fatalities thus far
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
4026. xcool






CAN I GET AAA BIG WOW...
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
4025. JLPR2
Quoting Hurricanes101:
geez, people just cant resist quoting him and reacting to him

then you are part of the problem, put him on ignore, do not pay any attention to him, do not answer his question

Do not make him a part of the conversation and this blog will be much better off


yep
no attention = no Trolls :)
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51 tornado reports yesterday.

2 fatal last I heard.

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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


and you're singing his tune. A member of the choir?



Nope, my voice aint fit for singing.

More of a...erm...preacher.
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4022. IKE
ITCZ getting active for early June. I don't recall it being that way so early in 2009.
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4021. JLPR2
I love this Africa loop
Someone posted it a few days ago and I immediately loved it ^^
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
geez, people just cant resist quoting him and reacting to him

then you are part of the problem, put him on ignore, do not pay any attention to him, do not answer his question

Do not make him a part of the conversation and this blog will be much better off
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
4018. xcool



Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
4015. IKE
4009.....

You need to stop now.

#poof#
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4013. Ossqss
Successful Troll Song :)
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4012. beell
Quoting gulfcoastdweller:


Hey BEELL, good to see you for the 2010 season

hope as is well with ya hun!! I look forward to ur posts on the up coming season


Thanks, gcd. Good to see you hanging in here also. We're all doing fine. Will be ducking in and out of here when the urge occurs.

Although the urge is much less frequent...
;-)
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4010. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number FORTY-EIGHT
DEPRESSION, FORMER PHET (ARB02-2010)
23:30 PM IST June 6 2010
=======================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Depression, Former TC Phet over south Pakistan moved further eastward and lays centered over south Pakistan, about 50 km north of Badin, south Pakistan.

The system would move east-north-eastwards and weaken gradually.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 53 Comments: 47585
4008. JLPR2
Quoting Hurricanes101:


lol sure does, especially for June


yep, I would like to see that area empty and full of SAl, but it isn't happening
*sigh*
:S
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4007. IKE
Quoting spathy:
Ike
Thankyou:0)
And thank God!
You could now fry an egg on what used to be my lawn.


I hope you get some rain! You've got decent chances this evening and tomorrow.
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4006. xcool
THAT A BIG mamma WAVE HAHA
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684

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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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