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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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:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Lol. I wonder how big Carla must of been in 1961. Take a look at the flooding. I think it was the size of the entire GOM.



I wouldn't have liked to seen that take a charge at the UK.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3554. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Chicklit:
Taking roll call as we prepare for take-off.
AlexH, BaltB, and Tropical(um,whatever) only get one seat because I suspect they are all the same person.


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

lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting xcool:
alex .hey.
Hey scott hows it going?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3552 posts in 2 days of pure chatter, there isn't even an invest out there. Imagine September.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Chicklit:
Taking roll call as we prepare for take-off.
AlexH, BaltB, and Tropical(um,whatever) only get one seat because I suspect they are all the same person.
Ah what i have been on this blog before they showed up and secondly i live in odessa north of tampa so i have no idea why you say that.
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3550. xcool
alex .hey.
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Quoting pottery:

Me neither. But I hear it's good for warding off anxiety, panic, stress.
Yeah. lol.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
3548. xcool


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In terms of ACE he 1961 hurricane season could be a good comparable for 2010.

1961 consisted of:

3 Category 3 Hurricanes
2 Category 4 Hurricanes
2 Category 5 Hurricanes

Scary huh?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
3546. pottery
Quoting Chicklit:
Feels like we're sitting on a big jet plane getting ready for take-off...all systems are go. Pottery, your humor is always appreciated.

See?? Nothing I say around here is ever taken seriously.
(Thank Goodness)
We have to await 09's Peer Review..
:)
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24873
Quoting xcool:
2009 hurricane season dead & bored..
It was actually interesting season 2009 was i learned a whole bunch because of that season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Taking roll call as we prepare for take-off.
AlexH, BaltB, and Tropical(um,whatever) only get one seat because I suspect they are all the same person.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3542. xcool
2009 hurricane season dead & bored..
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
This hurricane season will bring me alot of memories.Like 04 and 05.I remember 2009 so well becuase it was dull.Which was a good thing becuase 2008 was a devestating year.
I dont want another 2004 that season was awful every weekend we were putting wood on the windows!
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3540. pottery
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
LOL, no.

Me neither. But I hear it's good for warding off anxiety, panic, stress.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24873
3539. Makoto1
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
If Fred wouldn't of been sheared it could of possibly been a pretty bad event for the eastern seaboard.



Well I have a feeling it would have kept going northeast if it hadn't been sheared. It turned west when it weakened by the low-level flow if I remember correctly.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Feels like we're sitting on a big jet plane getting ready for take-off...all systems are go. Pottery, your humor is always appreciated.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

Have fun.
You have valium?
heheheheh
LOL, no.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Makoto1:
I think maybe Fred came to mind because it did have a record? It was the southeasternmost major hurricane in the Atlantic.
If Fred wouldn't of been sheared it could of possibly been a pretty bad event for the eastern seaboard.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting sflawavedude:
hey it looks like teh wave by africa could do something big and become the firsst named storm, unless, the blowup in the gulf beats it first! :)
if anything develops it will be by the wave at 35w not the gulf but could see something there in a couple of weeks as the subtropical retreats.
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3533. Patrap
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3532. xcool



subtropical jet lifting to N
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3531. pottery
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Lol, I'm going to do my math now.

Have fun.
You have valium?
heheheheh
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24873
Quoting Chicklit:

Bill was also kind enough to avoid land masses until about Maine. No such luck this year as there is something that will keep them from following that path...um, Bermuda High? Anyway, the downward MJO is supposed to kick in toward the end of June so the one at 35W may be a little bit ahead of the curve.
The B/A high shouldn't allow for such recurvature but instead allow for more tracks like Andrew (1992). I didn't mean to scare anyone, just laying an example. Lol.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
hey it looks like teh wave by africa could do something big and become the firsst named storm, unless, the blowup in the gulf beats it first! :)
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Good afternoon i see we chould have something to watch in a few days with that tropical wave at 35w but development if it does will not happen until it gets to the caribbean.
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3526. Makoto1
I think maybe Fred came to mind because it did have a record? It was the southeasternmost major hurricane in the Atlantic.
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I'm wondering if the current aoi in the gom could form in a simular fashion to 07's humberto??,I'm thinking it could be our next invest...
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Quoting pottery:

And factor-in the following--
conditions for the genesis of TS's from tropical waves in 2009 were very hostile.
So we should add a large % more to the total for 2010, because ALL conditions are favourable.
Wanna go with 300% overall?
would = 44!

About 3 weeks ago, I came up with 43, based on similar math. So we still on course............
Lol, I'm going to do my math now.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
3523. xcool



subtropical jet gogo bye .;(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IpswichWeatherCenter:


Yeh I might of.

No I didn't.
I knew that Marco was the smallest on record though
Lol. I wonder how big Carla must of been in 1961. Take a look at the flooding. I think it was the size of the entire GOM.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
3521. Patrap
NEXSAT GOM animated loop
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Um, no. You might of been thinking of Bill and Bill formed on August 15th, a month and a half later than Bertha. Oh and by the way, did any of you know that Bill was the fifth largest hurricane on record?

Bill was also kind enough to avoid land masses until about Maine. No such luck this year as there is something that will keep them from following that path...um, Bermuda High? Anyway, the downward MJO is supposed to kick in toward the end of June so the one at 35W may be a little bit ahead of the curve.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3519. pottery
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Wow, but you might be on to something.

And factor-in the following--
conditions for the genesis of TS's from tropical waves in 2009 were very hostile.
So we should add a large % more to the total for 2010, because ALL conditions are favourable.
Wanna go with 300% overall?
would = 44!

About 3 weeks ago, I came up with 43, based on similar math. So we still on course............
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24873
Quoting xcool:
Shear is decreasing big time...
Yeah. The subtropical jet should be breaking somewhat and just lifting within 144 hours.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
3517. xcool
so much for wind Shear
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Um, no. You might of been thinking of Bill and Bill formed on August 15th, a month and a half later than Bertha. Oh and by the way, did any of you know that Bill was the fifth largest hurricane on record?


Yeh I might of.

No I didn't.
I knew that Marco was the smallest on record though
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IpswichWeatherCenter:


Might have been Fred 09?
Um, no. You might of been thinking of Bill and Bill formed on August 15th, a month and a half later than Bertha. Oh and by the way, did any of you know that Bill was the fifth largest hurricane on record?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
the thing that was in the boc faded and then came back?

good morning all
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Good Grief!

You technowizzes know why if this wave develops it won't follow Bertha...care to splain?
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3511. Makoto1
Quoting ElConando:


Over the great lakes of the United States.


Keep it away from Ohio, thanks. lol

And I'm loving this dry air up here right now.
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We could get some truly ginormous storms this year.

Bill 2009:


Ike 2008:
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
3509. xcool
Shear is decreasing big time...
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3508. Patrap
Interesting Dvorak also.

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Quoting Patrap:
Note the Semi-Circle in the Rainbow and the low level swirlie,thingee as well.

What did you just write? LOL.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
My heat index is 102.
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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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