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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Quoting altesticstorm10:

Tell me why... JLPR2 isn't impersonating JLPR, a Puerto Rican regular from last year and many years before?
He isn't impersonation JLPR, he himself said that he changed his username under both accounts. You can even read his blog, don't ignore him.
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Quoting altesticstorm10:
Mark my words: At least one of those Cape Verde waves that currently exist will become named tropical storms in the Caribbean within about a week or so.

Guys, just ignore TropicalWave/JFV and JLPR2 and get on with your lives, don't feed the trolls today...I prefer feeding the real waves with some convection and circulation.

This from the one that openly enjoys destruction and lives ripped asunder...cheers for it.
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3853. JLPR
Quoting JLPR2:


What? you want me to login to my old account? -.-
Wait a second


There, happy?
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3850. JLPR2
Quoting altesticstorm10:

Tell me why... JLPR2 isn't impersonating JLPR, a Puerto Rican regular from last year and many years before?


What? you want me to login to my old account? -.-
Wait a second
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Quoting altesticstorm10:


Wind shear is very weak in the Gulf and Caribbean as the subtropical jet has gone poof...The Atlantic shear remains moderately unfavorable north of 12-13N, though it is running well below average and likely will through the entire hurricane season.
The subtropical jetstream hasn't gone "poof". There is still shear of 30-40 knots along the subtropical Atlantic.
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3843. JLPR2
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
JLPR2? Why ignore him? He isn't a troll, he's far away from being a troll.


Yeah I was going to ask that XD
I'm confused here. That's how I'm received after two days of absence? :O
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3841. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting TropicalWave:
Does anyone remember the two-tone-talker, from here?
that wasn't you too was it !
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Quoting altesticstorm10:
Mark my words: At least one of those Cape Verde waves that currently exist will become named tropical storms in the Caribbean within about a week or so.

Guys, just ignore TropicalWave/JFV and JLPR2 and get on with your lives, don't feed the trolls today...I prefer feeding the real waves with some convection and circulation.
JLPR2? Why ignore him? He isn't a troll, he's far away from being a troll.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

He asked me in WUmail. I told him all of your real names...

Hmm, on that notion, we northshorians should meet up sometime, for the heck of it. I'd be willing.

errantlythought? sarajola? (maybe Pat would want to come up?) anyone else?

Cafe DuMonde, Mandeville?


LOL! I met Cyclone Oz and Pensacola Doug last year I guess it was. All of a sudden this van came into my neighborhood with hurricane flags and gas cans on the top and I was like...nooooo way! He had talked about the van on here prior to that. So I go down the street where they were parked and went...Hey Cyclone Oz and Pensacola Doug. They both just looked at each other and were stoked that they were famous :)
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Quoting sarahjola:

love to. gotta get a babysitter. my 2 young ones wouldn't sit still long enough to have a conversation. lol!

Yeah, that's my world...my wife is stuck with 'em without a break most of the time.

Speaking of kids, maybe xcool could come over from Slidell, too.
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3831. Makoto1
I would like to see how the wave about to come offshore does over water for a while... I don't think it'll actually do anything until the Caribbean, however. It would need to be south of about 12N to avoid the shear before then.
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Yeah Chicklit, I have a dachshund on my head...lol... terrified of these thunderstorms.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

He asked me in WUmail. I told him all of your real names...

Hmm, on that notion, we northshorians should meet up sometime, for the heck of it. I'd be willing.

errantlythought? sarajola? (maybe Pat would want to come up?) anyone else?

Cafe DuMonde, Mandeville?

love to. gotta get a babysitter. my 2 young ones wouldn't sit still long enough to have a conversation. lol!
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Oh no, not the "I know you are JFV" posts again! Another freaking hot day in Gainesville, FL. No wonder the GOM is heating up fast. If these trends continue we may have another Katrina this year.
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Quoting Ossqss:
Email addresses are a dime a dozen, I get up to six from one of my ISP's. I believe some of the posters/moderators here have access to the invisible widget this blog uses for tracking.

Now on the other hand, having a Meteorological Cyber Law degree from the Dry Tortugas University is another matter :)


xD neither his Uncle.
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Still a tad early to be looking off the african coast BUT those waves did look impressive for early june this morning.
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Not even my dog will go out in this weather.
Lots of thunderboomers in ECFL this afternoon.

Loop

Cooling nicely.
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Quoting extreme236:


Were not stupid we know your JFV. So you might as well go create another handle like we know you will and pretend to be someone who's not JFV again.


My thoughts exactly.
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Quoting tornadodude:


oh ok :p

what about us from Indiana?

H-e-double-hockeystick of a drive for a cafe au lait and some beniets...but I think you'd be welcome.
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3820. Dakster
KOG -

Go for it. Although get Dr. M's permission to start then you will not be breaking any laws. We are accessing Dr. M's "computers" and our IP address is logged on HIS site.

Would be interesting to see how many bloggers post under different handles.



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3819. JLPR2
Quoting tornadodude:


you kinda just proved who you are... I never told you my name while youve been using this handle


I have been here since 07 and I have seen a few folks tell their name and I dont even remember LOL!
I'm so bad with names T_T
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Quoting atmoaggie:

He asked me in WUmail. I told him all of your real names...

Hmm, on that notion, we northshorians should meet up sometime, for the heck of it. I'd be willing.

errantlythought? sarajola? (maybe Pat would want to come up?) anyone else?

Cafe DuMonde, Mandeville?


oh ok :p

what about us from Indiana?
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Quoting TropicalWave:
Baltimore, since 05. HurricaneFreak, I agree, I've the doc. several emails before addressing that possible consideration, I've even spoken to him about a possible age limit, it's unlikely, but let's see what comes about.


So, is it 2007 or 2005??
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hard right turn commencing atmo.
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Quoting tornadodude:


you kinda just proved who you are... I never told you my name while youve been using this handle

He asked me in WUmail. I told him all of your real names...

Hmm, on that notion, we northshorians should meet up sometime, for the heck of it. I'd be willing.

errantlythought? sarajola? (maybe Pat would want to come up?) anyone else?

Cafe DuMonde, Mandeville?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalWave:


?????, how so? Remember, I've been a lurker on here since 2007. I learned your name through how some of the other bloggers on here, have addressed you as, in the past.


Were not stupid we know your JFV. So you might as well go create another handle like we know you will and pretend to be someone who's not JFV again.
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Think atmo is right about that right turn. We may be in for a little rain here, again. Need me a deeper rain gauge. Or at least something more official than a garden fairy holding a tube. ;)
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I love this blog...
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Quoting tornadodude:


you kinda just proved who you are... I never told you my name while youve been using this handle


LOL!
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Quoting TropicalWave:
Matt..........no.


you kinda just proved who you are... I never told you my name while youve been using this handle
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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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