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 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 :)

Zing!
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Quoting atmoaggie:

None of the surface obs near it are showing anything over 15 knots:

(best viewed full size...click)


Nothing on the surface at all, circ wise, seems. Wonder what it'd do if it had time to sit out off south pass, though. Would be a fun experiment to see how the oil is really effecting things.
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Quoting TropicalWave:


No it doesn't.


you would know....
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3799. 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 :)
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Quoting TropicalWave:
Law schools exist for various reason, dude, lol. The non-degreed will never surpass the degreed individuals inside of our society.


Bwaaaahahahaha Good one.
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3796. Patrap



NEXRAD Radar
New Orleans, Velocity Azimuth Display Wind Profile Range 124 NMI

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting sarahjola:
any wind associated with this gom blob?

None of the surface obs near it are showing anything over 15 knots:

(best viewed full size...click)
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3794. Patrap
Gulf Of Mexico - Dvorak Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
It is downpouring here now....
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any wind associated with this gom blob?
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
My bad, I meant 10 knots, it's actually moving at 15 MPH, and yes that's fast. I have to go, just look under AOI #1 on my blog, all the info is there.

Umm, 10 knots = 11.5 mph...
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
if you used the same email address to log on with does not matter where you are it will be the same person and i would never disclose any info on anyone as per terms of service to which i am a part of or which is allow by the service i subscribe too

This site allows more than one handle on a single email addy?!? That's very odd.
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Quoting sarahjola:
thanks for the info. 10mph, is that fast and will it have any interaction with brazil?
My bad, I meant 10 knots, it's actually moving at 15 MPH, and yes that's fast. I have to go, just look under AOI #1 on my blog, all the info is there.
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The wave train continues crankin' and showing no signs of stoppin'. I have to go, see you all later this evening.

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
if you used the same email address to log on with does not matter where you are it will be the same person and i would never disclose any info on anyone as per terms of service to which i am a part of or which is allow by the service i subscribe too

If you want my email address all you got to do is ask haha.
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I heard some people say that some bloggers last year were crying for a storm.Is that true.


Yes trolls mainly
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3784. Patrap
Gulf Of Mexico - Rainbow Loop

Be sure to check the MSLP box
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting cyclonekid:


We've got a real nice wave train going on there.

Anyone wanna guess which one will become TD01?
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3781. Motttt

U. S. oil exploration
Link
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
You can view it on my blog. It's moving W at about 10 MPH.
thanks for the info. 10mph, is that fast and will it have any interaction with brazil?
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3778. Patrap
Gulf Of Mexico - False Color RGB Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting sarahjola:
what is the general direction this blob is moving? thanks in advance
It seems to be moving NE. Atmo expects it to make a hard turn to the east towards the Florida panhandle.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
New Orleans get ready!


Check the oil spill floater loop. I still think it'll take that hard right...

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t4/flash-avn.html
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
New Orleans get ready!

what is the general direction this blob is moving? thanks in advance
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3772. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

Yea good luck...I log on from multiple locations so it may show different places each time. Oh yea and I know how to block that kind of stuff or give you false data so I am not to concerned to be honest. Just interesting what will happen if someone gets upset about and because admin here would be responsible.
if you used the same email address to log on with does not matter where you are it will be the same person and i would never disclose any info on anyone as per terms of service to which i am a part of or which is allow by the service i subscribe too
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the main area of convection appears it w/miss LA,however the line of t-storms to the north w/eventually sagg south instigating storms to form in the NO area.....the MLC appears it is now headed for the panhandle area,IMO
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Quoting 850Realtor:
Atmoaggie, regarding your earlier post about the GOM blob...you mentioned a hard right turn. Will that bring the moisture into the Panhandle or further east? When can we expect that rain to come onshore?

I *think* it will just brush you guys to the south. Orlando looks to get a rainy day. (I *think*)

But it prolly get torn apart a bit in the stronger west winds aloft along the shore.

Becomes a smear by tomorrow morning in this morning's GFS.


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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I am concered about some flooding occuring.How about you.
Yeah, up to 2-3 inches are possible in localized areas.
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3766. GBguy88
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I heard some people say that some bloggers last year were crying for a storm.Is that true.


Unfortunately yes. I think it's hilarious when people in landlocked states who've never seen a hurricane try to wish one on somebody. It's just stupid. That, or it's someone who doesn't own property or have a family to be concerned with.
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
For a huge downpour.
Big time.
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New Orleans get ready!

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Atmoaggie, regarding your earlier post about the GOM blob...you mentioned a hard right turn. Will that bring the moisture into the Panhandle or further east? When can we expect that rain to come onshore?
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EVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
338 PM EDT SUN JUN 6 2010

VAC179-062000-
/O.CON.KLWX.TO.W.0007.000000T0000Z-100606T2000Z/
STAFFORD VA-
338 PM EDT SUN JUN 6 2010

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 400 PM EDT FOR CENTRAL
STAFFORD COUNTY...

AT 337 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO
INDICATE A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED 6 MILES WEST OF STAFFORD...MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
GARRISONVILLE...

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

&&

LAT...LON 3851 7741 3836 7744 3840 7762 3847 7759
TIME...MOT...LOC 1938Z 280DEG 32KT 3844 7750

$$
SBK
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


you can actually subscribe to sites that will do this for you its done all the time as a matter of fact anyone can purchase this service and i already have it on my blog page it records and tracks everyone that comes to my blog page

so come on over so i can see where you are from

Yea good luck...I log on from multiple locations so it may show different places each time. Oh yea and I know how to block that kind of stuff or give you false data so I am not to concerned to be honest. Just interesting what will happen if someone gets upset about and because admin here would be responsible.
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.