Long range oil spill forecast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:02 PM GMT on June 04, 2010

Share this Blog
4
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 3606 - 3556

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105Blog Index

Which direction will the blob in the GOM go? Will the Florida Panhandle get wet weather from it?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3605. bassis
Radar is showing a tornado NE of Dover NH
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3604. Dakster
Quoting pottery:

Me neither. But I hear it's good for warding off anxiety, panic, stress.


Pottery - Is that fuzzy math you are doing??

If not, you are going to make the makers of valium rich...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Yeah, but it just keeps getting lower and lower than ever before. Caribbean started to come back closer towards climatology, but then took another dip :/
Scary.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yeah, it's been that way for a while now, it's starting to really alarm me.


Yeah, but it just keeps getting lower and lower than ever before. Caribbean started to come back closer towards climatology, but then took another dip :/
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting TropicalWave:


WOW, Well, I'll eb dammed. For what areas of the basin are those readings from?


It says on the image but maybe it wasn't very noticeable lol

First image: Gulf of Mexico
Second image: Caribbean
Third image is just about the entire basin under lower than normal shear.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
3599. Grothar
Quoting TropicalWave:
Afternoon, Grotha! I hope all is well.


It is, thank you! Just very, very hot here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
It's almost laughable how much below normal in shear we are right now:





Yeah, it's been that way for a while now, it's starting to really alarm me.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
3595. pottery
Quoting TropicalWave:


WOW, Well, I'll eb dammed. For what areas of the basin are those readings from?

Top one is Gulf, bottom is Caribbean.
Scary enough...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24796
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


again i never said it was

but your all startin
to get very defensive
and just like the cane season
this is all going to be played out
and in the end we will all fine out
just what its all about
Oh ok. Didn't mean to sound defensive, I just wanted to get the point across.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
area of possible interest looks like a surface low trying to form near:22N,62W


Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
It's almost laughable how much below normal in shear we are right now:





Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
3590. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Calm down. We were just messing around.AlexHurricane isn't JFV, It's obvious.


again i never said it was

but your all startin
to get very defensive
and just like the cane season
this is all going to be played out
and in the end we will all fine out
just what its all about
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllStar17:
This GOM blob continues to increase in size.
It's currently based right over the oil spill, let's see what happens. Expect New Orleans to get some really nasty weather as the evening progresses.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting pottery:

True. Agreed. But based on the quality of his posts, I knew he would understand that I was joking, and not recommending....
Drugs, prescription or otherwise are not part of my scene and I do not recommend them to anyone.
Yeah, of course. Just joking, no recommendation.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
This GOM blob continues to increase in size.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Calm down. We were just messing around.AlexHurricane isn't JFV, It's obvious.
Thank you i apologized to him for my behavior i thought he was talking about me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3582. Grothar
Quoting xcool:
Grothar hey


Hey xcool! Hot where we are! Lucky I have people who do my yard work for me. LOL Just got out of the pool. It was actually too hot to stay out there. Don't like these little waves this early.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3581. txjac
Houston Texas
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
it may already be too late when it comes to that part for some of them on here
Are you kidding?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
3578. pottery
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


Don't be pushing drugs on the poor boy. They get into stuff too early as it is. Valium for a Kid? NOT

True. Agreed. But based on the quality of his posts, I knew he would understand that I was joking, and not recommending....
Drugs, prescription or otherwise are not part of my scene and I do not recommend them to anyone.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24796
Quoting txjac:
Updated: 3 min 15 sec ago
96.3 °F
Partly Cloudy
Humidity: 61%
Dew Point: 81 °F
Wind: Calm

Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
Pressure: 29.89 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 118 °F
Visibility: 9.0 miles
UV: 12 out of 16
Clouds: Few 4100 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 72 ft



and you are where btw?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3575. txjac
Updated: 3 min 15 sec ago
96.3 °F
Partly Cloudy
Humidity: 61%
Dew Point: 81 °F
Wind: Calm

Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
Pressure: 29.89 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 118 °F
Visibility: 9.0 miles
UV: 12 out of 16
Clouds: Few 4100 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 72 ft

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


Don't be pushing drugs on the poor boy. They get into stuff too early as it is. Valium for a Kid? NOT
Calm down. We were just messing around.
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


excuse you for what
it was in no way directed
too you or anyone else
unless somim stints
in the outhouse
where you are
and its startin
to bother you
AlexHurricane isn't JFV, It's obvious.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


excuse you for what
it was in no way directed
too you or anyone else
unless somim stints
in the outhouse
where you are
and its startin
to bother you
Im so sorry i guess i misunderstood what you were saying.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
So this system that is rolling off of the african coast, combining the water temperatures off the coast of Africa what could we see if anything?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3571. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


Don't be pushing drugs on the poor boy. They get into stuff too early as it is. Valium for a Kid? NOT
it may already be too late when it comes to that part for some of them on here
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3569. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Excuse me i only have one handle and its Alexhurricane1991!


excuse you for what
it was in no way directed
too you or anyone else
unless somim stints
in the outhouse
where you are
and its startin
to bother you
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bappit:


When the storm is a few days away from landfall and a model has it going over Florida, don't say it is forecasted to go over Florida.
In another post I said that after the system passes the Antilles is when you should be safe to follow the models and say that there is a possibility that that system could hit Florida.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting pottery:

Me neither. But I hear it's good for warding off anxiety, panic, stress.


Don't be pushing drugs on the poor boy. They get into stuff too early as it is. Valium for a Kid? NOT
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
3566. Ossqss
Yesha, I see yall talking about yard work earlier. It is Brutal out there for sure. Ensure you get losts of refreshments.

And be careful with any Toyota lawn mowers

Stick with John Deere

:) back to yard work :( L8R
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3565. bappit
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
LOL, well I tend to go by model plots when tracking hurricanes, so if models point to Florida I'm not going to say that it's going to hit Wisconsin I'm going to say it's forecasted to hit Florida. Get what I mean?


When the storm is a few days away from landfall and a model has it going over Florida, don't say it is forecasted to go over Florida.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3563. xcool
Grothar hey
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3562. xcool
alex.good & about leave in 15mins.wait on crazy ecmwf
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3561. Grothar
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Greetings to all, happy new week,

Sorry if I'm interrupting a conversation as I just came in to let you know... BIG BOOMS here ... and close, very exciting. Our crazy Yorkie Taz was anxiously waiting on the front window seat for someone to take him out into the carport to watch -- he loves it! The Pomeranian is nowhere in sight, of course.

My husband just came in to tell me I'm missing a really good show... don't worry, the carport isn't of anything that conducts...so I'm going to wish you good day and shut down now.

BTW, is it dangerous to take a shower (inside, duh), during a thunderstorm. We're a little stinky...working outside and stuff...oops, the elctricity just blinked...CYL!


Awake, where have you been?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


its funny
i think two
with 3 or more handles
all talking to themselves

lol
Excuse me i only have one handle and its Alexhurricane1991!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chicklit:
Good Grief!

You technowizzes know why if this wave develops it won't follow Bertha...care to splain?


Because it'll be too strong to follow the same path. The stronger a cane the more north it will want to go.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Link

This wave coming off Africa looks rather interesting, even has a little spin to it, at least it looks that way in this loop.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


its funny
i think two
with 3 or more handles
all talking to themselves

lol
Hi Keeper and yeah, one more at least.
As one sets off, must at least put things in perspective.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Greetings to all, happy new week,

Sorry if I'm interrupting a conversation as I just came in to let you know... BIG BOOMS here ... and close, very exciting. Our crazy Yorkie Taz was anxiously waiting on the front window seat for someone to take him out into the carport to watch -- he loves it! The Pomeranian is nowhere in sight, of course.

My husband just came in to tell me I'm missing a really good show... don't worry, the carport isn't of anything that conducts...so I'm going to wish you good day and shut down now.

BTW, is it dangerous to take a shower (inside, duh), during a thunderstorm. We're a little stinky...working outside and stuff...oops, the elctricity just blinked...CYL!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 3606 - 3556

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105Blog Index

Top of Page

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.

Local Weather

Overcast
32 °F
Overcast