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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4006. xcool
THAT A BIG mamma WAVE HAHA
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
He's got y'all played like a freakin harp.

Cant believe you still dont see it.



and you're singing his tune. A member of the choir?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I share your thoughts IKE, this has gone on long enough. For now on anybody causing drama, and grade school antics will be flagged by me. This is a serious blog on serious topics, if you can't behave then get out. *Thats the last thing i'll say on this matter*
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
4003. xcool
Relix :)))
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting JLPR2:
Looks a little crowded off shore Africa



lol sure does, especially for June
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7818
4001. JLPR2
Looks a little crowded off shore Africa

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Relix:
(also is it me or are xcool and JFV the same? =P)

Certainly not.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3997. IKE
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
He's got y'all played like a freakin harp.

Cant believe you still dont see it.



Best to just ignore and move on.

I'd have to admit, he's as close to a troll as any I've ever, ever seen on the internet.

Not saying I frequent chat rooms...other blogs that often, but....admin needs to fix this.

I'm tired of typing about it.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3996. bappit
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Well I don't think they will be crying this year.I don't want a storm to hit anyone but I don't think non of them will like it if they were hit by one.why don't we send the trolls to a abondon island and when a storm comes they can feel all the thrill they want.What do you you say.


Wishcasters are not the same as trolls. I think anyone could get a thrill from witnessing a storm. Where it perhaps gets questionable is when it takes on some psychological baggage like repressed emotions, but it still is nothing like pyromania. Wishcasting can't change the weather. Also, studies have shown that people who are thrill seekers (like sky divers, for instance) tend to be quite healthy psychologically.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The clown is on my ignore list now, I suggest everyone ignores him as well

This crap has got to stop, he dictates the blog with his antics.

I suggest everyone tell admin that he keeps coming back and creating new names and he needs to be banned PERMANENTLY!!
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7818
you can't be fiends with him if you want to be friends with me! Pitiful.

How high school...maybe middle school.

Yep, GoM blob made the hard right and getting torn up...



Very evident in the loop: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/gmex/loop-avn.html
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3993. viman
CATL Wave:

http://oiswww.eumetsat.org/IPPS/html/MSG/IMAGERY/IR039/COLOR/AMERICA/index.htm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting calder:
All this is so childish and pathetic and is totally undermining the purpose of the blog. Carry on like this and you'll just drive people away...


Too late. Many have already left, or appear rarely. Idiocy prevails.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3990. EricSFL
Quoting TropicalWave:
MiamiHurricane, my friend, he's not worth it.


hmmmmm... something smells like Hialeah to me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3989. IKE
Quoting spathy:
Ike
Send some of that rain down to SW Fl.
We are very dry here.
When is this backwards pattern going to change!?


That's a good question.

Here's the SW FL. marine weather...

MARINE...SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE OVER THE SOUTHERN PENINSULA WILL
MAINTAIN A SOUTHWEST TO WESTERLY WIND FLOW IN THE 10 TO 15 KNOT
RANGE WITH SEAS OF 2 TO 4 FEET OVER THE GULF WATERS TONIGHT THROUGH
MONDAY. A WEAKENING FRONTAL BOUNDARY SAGGING SOUTH INTO THE NORTH
CENTRAL WATERS ON MONDAY WILL SHIFT WINDS INTO THE NORTHWEST THEN
NORTHEAST MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY AS THE FRONT MOVES SOUTH THROUGH
THE REGION. WINDS WILL BECOME LIGHT EAST TO SOUTHEAST TUESDAY NIGHT
THROUGH FRIDAY WITH AN ONSHORE SEA BREEZE COMPONENT DEVELOPING NEAR
SHORE EACH AFTERNOON AS SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE OFF THE MID ATLANTIC
SINKS SOUTH AND BECOMES ALIGNED EAST TO WEST FROM THE WESTERN ATLANTIC
ACROSS THE CENTRAL PENINSULA. WINDS AND SEAS SHOULD REMAIN BELOW 15
KNOTS AND 5 FEET THROUGH THE FORECAST PERIOD WITH NO HEADLINES
ANTICIPATED AT THIS TIME.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3988. JLPR2
Quoting Relix:


I am an IT dude. They can't do a thing, except nuking the account, and in which case I can do the same you've been doing for years now: Making new accounts.


Just ignore him and lets get back to weather :D
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3987. Relix
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
He's got y'all played like a freakin harp.

Cant believe you still dont see it.



Ah I see it. I am used to dealing with his kind. It's just temporary fun. Though I admit he greatly frustrates me!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3986. calder
All this is so childish and pathetic and is totally undermining the purpose of the blog. Carry on like this and you'll just drive people away...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3984. Relix
Quoting JLPR2:



oh no, xcool is nice :D


Yeah xcool is a good guy. I just wished he could capitalize some letters! Haha! Anyway, on to weather guys.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
He's got y'all played like a freakin harp.

Cant believe you still dont see it.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3982. Relix
Quoting TropicalWave:
Confessing taht to the admins will now SURELY get you kicked out of here.


I am an IT dude. They can't do a thing, except nuking the account, and in which case I can do the same you've been doing for years now: Making new accounts.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3981. JLPR2
Quoting Relix:


Oh wow very interesting. Will have to keep an eye on this then.

(also is it me or are xcool and JFV the same? =P)



oh no, xcool is nice :D
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3978. Relix
Quoting EricSFL:


I had the priviledge to live in Puerto Rico for many years and the meteorologists down there (except Susan Soltero) were more professional than the current local ones in the Miami metro area.


Susan is a good joke though. Here forecasts are usually the opposite haha. Deborah and Ada Monzon are, IMO, the top notch meteorologists here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3977. IKE
3967...admin needs to do something about it. Enough!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3976. xcool
. Relix nooo
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
3975. JLPR2
Quoting EricSFL:


I had the priviledge to live in Puerto Rico for many years and the meteorologists down there (except Susan Soltero) were more professional than the current local ones in the Miami metro area.


haha! yep, poor Susan, but we still support her, maybe someday she'll get one right. XD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting dsenecal2009:
JFV really is a weird, sociopathic person. He leads people in and turns on them in an instant. He changes handles constantly and attempts to take on different personalities. He finds other people's pictures and pretends to be them. It sickens me to read his posts because I am so aware of the person behind them; he is so instantly recognizable. His craving for attention comes out in disturbing, subtle ways. His presence here is a bit creepy for some of us. Cuz dude is bonkers.


Agreed 100%, this clown needs to be banned permanently
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7818
Quoting TropicalWave:
Speak for yourself, Cane. God, why did you have to discover this website? This place was heveanly withou you here, alst year. I ginna report you for your trolling memo. You have a lto to learn, child. Respect your elders. Also, X will never ignore me, because we're very good friends, both on and off this site. Im done with you, Feeding the trolls will get me banned.
ROFLMAO!!! Ok, now I'm really going to ignore you.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3970. xcool
TropicalWave who.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
3968. Relix
Quoting beell:


Some model support for the apex of this wave to head WNW to near 12-13N by mid week. Entering the extreme NE Caribbean Sea near 17/18N.
12Z GFS 850mb Vorticity Loop


Oh wow very interesting. Will have to keep an eye on this then.

(also is it me or are xcool and JFV the same? =P)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3965. EricSFL
Quoting Relix:


He's just jealous of the fact she's a real meteorologist with proper presence and well paid. By the way, trust me, if I were banned I wouldn't be affected. It's all a matter of changing IP, cleaning cookies and cache and I am back here reading comments and the blog until my ban is up, which I will accept of course.


I had the priviledge to live in Puerto Rico for many years and the meteorologists down there (except Susan Soltero) were more professional than the current local ones in the Miami metro area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3964. JLPR2
Quoting Relix:


Hah! Two days ago I couldn't even watch the San Juan skyline clearly. At least SAL will be gone. Hopefully Tuesday will be clear, going to be visiting the Camuy Caves and then maybe just some ice skating in Aguadilla. Should be a fun ride.


That sounds fun, never been there, someday...
XD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3962. beell
Quoting atmoaggie:

Please don't insult those with that condition...it's not their fault...


Ditto.
Thanks, atmo.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3961. IKE
Quoting gulfcoastdweller:


dang Ike, the way things are going for you, you might need to get a boat! LOL


I've had more rain this month(in 6 days), then the last 2 months combined(April and May...5.95 inches).

June so far...5.99.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3959. JLPR2
Quoting Relix:


He's just jealous of the fact she's a real meteorologist with proper presence and well paid. By the way, trust me, if I were banned I wouldn't be affected. It's all a matter of changing IP, cleaning cookies and cache and I am back here reading comments and the blog until my ban is up, which I will accept of course.


I mostly lurk so yep, I wouldn't mind it either. XD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3958. beell
Quoting Relix:
...that wave looks interesting. Tracking too much to the south though. It's hot and humid here in PR, raining a bit now thought. Some t-storms as well.


Some model support for the apex of this wave to head WNW to near 12-13N by mid week. Entering the extreme NE Caribbean Sea near 17/18N.
12Z GFS 850mb Vorticity Loop
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3956. Relix
Quoting JLPR2:


Yep, but at least the SAL has cleared out a little.


Hah! Two days ago I couldn't even watch the San Juan skyline clearly. At least SAL will be gone. Hopefully Tuesday will be clear, going to be visiting the Camuy Caves and then maybe just some ice skating in Aguadilla. Should be a fun ride.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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.