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: 3506 - 3456

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

My heat index is 102.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chicklit:
Good afternoon, WUbies!
Wasn't Bertha the earlest Cape Verde hurricane on record?


Might have been Fred 09?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chicklit:
Good afternoon, WUbies!
Wasn't Bertha the earlest Cape Verde hurricane on record?
Yup. I think we might just beat that. I'm going with a 35% chance.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Remember Odile? "Odile fooled me like Odile fooled the prince".


I remember me really laughing over some of Kyle and Epsilons discussions.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3502. Patrap
Note the Semi-Circle in the Rainbow and the low level swirlie,thingee as well.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:

Naner, naner, naner. Beat ya with that 125 heat index (but prolly not real)
That's what I was thinking. It's just going to get worse, tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3500. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number FORTY-SEVEN
DEPRESSION, FORMER PHET (ARB02-2010)
20:30 PM IST June 6 2010
=======================================

At 15:00 PM UTC, Depression, Former Phet over northeast Arabian Sea moved east-northeastwards and crossed Pakistan coast close to south of Karachi between 1300 hrs and 1400 PM UTC. It lays centered now over Pakistan near 25.0N 68.5E, about 100 Kms east of Karachi, Pakistan and 220 Kms north-nortwest of Naliya, Gujarat.

The system would move east-northeastwards and weaken gradually.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good afternoon, WUbies!
Wasn't Bertha the earlest Cape Verde hurricane on record?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:

And I didn't show this one, I dunno about a 88 dewpoint...

89.8 °F
Clear
Humidity: 94%
Dew Point: 88 °F
Wind: 0.0 mph
Wind Gust: 5.0 mph
Pressure: 30.06 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 125 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 13 out of 16
Clouds:
Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 12 ft

Lots of low 80s dewpoints around, none other over 84.
My dew point here in Miami is 84˚F, get ready for the nasty thunderstorms later this evening.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
You think that's crazy take a look at this:

*By the way this is for 33132 zip code in downtown Miami.

89.0 F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 79%
Dew Point: 84 F

Wind: 10.0 mph from the SE
Wind Gust: 10.0 mph
Pressure: 29.90 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 114 F

Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 8 out of 16
Clouds:
Scattered Clouds 2800 ft
Mostly Cloudy 25000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 14 ft

Naner, naner, naner. Beat ya with that 125 heat index (but prolly not real)

And at least you guys have a little breeze to go with it...very still here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3496. Patrap
GOM Sw IR



AVN

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Acemmett90:

they would right wtf at the end of the two


Remember Odile? "Odile fooled me like Odile fooled the prince".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:
That session of yard work was fairly miserable...


And I didn't show this one, I dunno about a 88 dewpoint...

89.8 °F
Clear
Humidity: 94%
Dew Point: 88 °F
Wind: 0.0 mph
Wind Gust: 5.0 mph
Pressure: 30.06 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 125 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 13 out of 16
Clouds:
Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 12 ft

Lots of low 80s dewpoints around, none other over 84.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
oooofh..!


Current Conditions

Uptown, New Orleans, Louisiana (PWS)
Updated: 13 sec ago
Mostly Cloudy

93.4 F

Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 67%

Dew Point: 81 F

Wind: 1.0 mph from the South
Wind Gust: 5.8 mph
Pressure: 30.00 in (Steady)

Heat Index: 114 F

Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 8 out of 16
Clouds:
Few 2100 ft
Scattered Clouds 2600 ft
Mostly Cloudy 3600 ft
Mostly Cloudy 25000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 20 ft
You think that's crazy take a look at this:

*By the way this is for 33132 zip code in downtown Miami.

89.0 F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 79%
Dew Point: 84 F

Wind: 10.0 mph from the SE
Wind Gust: 10.0 mph
Pressure: 29.90 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 114 F

Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 8 out of 16
Clouds:
Scattered Clouds 2800 ft
Mostly Cloudy 25000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 14 ft
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3492. Patrap
GOM IR Loop

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IpswichWeatherCenter:


Maybe i'm just hopeful. Although I reckon Europe might get a heatwave like in 2003 again this year.


We have a similar set-up this year, but a heat wave like that will not occur if Eyjafjallajokull or Katla erupts, or if the Gulf Stream diverts west of Greenland again and fills up the Northwest Passage.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Wow! Could the oil spill be adding to the heat?
Absolutely not.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Maybe we'll even get storms drifting south along the Gulf Stream!


That'll be amusing if Avila or Franklin was doing the forecasting.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

So, based on this we can make some accurate assumptions, as follows
-- an increase of 200% in Trop. Waves so far.
should theoretically result in an increase of 200% in Storms-
Therefore a fair extrapolation would be-
2009 = 11 storms
2010 = 11 X 200% = 33 storms.

So, there you go.
heheheheh
Wow, but you might be on to something.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
That session of yard work was fairly miserable...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
oooofh..!


Current Conditions

Uptown, New Orleans, Louisiana (PWS)
Updated: 13 sec ago
Mostly Cloudy

93.4 °F

Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 67%

Dew Point: 81 °F

Wind: 1.0 mph from the South
Wind Gust: 5.8 mph
Pressure: 30.00 in (Steady)

Heat Index: 114 °F

Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 8 out of 16
Clouds:
Few 2100 ft
Scattered Clouds 2600 ft
Mostly Cloudy 3600 ft
Mostly Cloudy 25000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 20 ft


Wow! Could the oil spill be adding to the heat?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


I think we could get a new minimum lower than 2007.


Maybe i'm just hopeful. Although I reckon Europe might get a heatwave like in 2003 again this year.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3483. xcool
Miami wow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Acemmett90:

damn fl water temps
That's never good. Why? Well God forbid a hurricane or major hurricane threaten Florida when it begins to move overland those hot SSTs will help really intensify the hurricane on it's last hours over water. A good example of this is Katrina in 2005, she went from TS strength to Category 1 strength because she was over the very hot gulf stream.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

So, based on this we can make some accurate assumptions, as follows
-- an increase of 200% in Trop. Waves so far.
should theoretically result in an increase of 200% in Storms-
Therefore a fair extrapolation would be-
2009 = 11 storms
2010 = 11 X 200% = 33 storms.

So, there you go.
heheheheh


Well that's within my range.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Anyone reckon the NHC should be made to take over the Eastern Pacific as far north as Vancouver and the entity of the South Atlantic when forecasting tropical cyclones?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3479. Patrap
oooofh..!


Current Conditions

Uptown, New Orleans, Louisiana (PWS)
Updated: 13 sec ago
Mostly Cloudy

93.4 °F

Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 67%

Dew Point: 81 °F

Wind: 1.0 mph from the South
Wind Gust: 5.8 mph
Pressure: 30.00 in (Steady)

Heat Index: 114 °F

Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 8 out of 16
Clouds:
Few 2100 ft
Scattered Clouds 2600 ft
Mostly Cloudy 3600 ft
Mostly Cloudy 25000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 20 ft
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3478. pottery
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

i believe at this time last year we were at 5 or 6 so far
456 would be best to ask
thats he's baby
when it comes to waves

So, based on this we can make some accurate assumptions, as follows
-- an increase of 200% in Trop. Waves so far.
should theoretically result in an increase of 200% in Storms-
Therefore a fair extrapolation would be-
2009 = 11 storms
2010 = 11 X 200% = 33 storms.

So, there you go.
heheheheh
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24055
Quoting IpswichWeatherCenter:


It'll pick up again hopefully.


I think we could get a new minimum lower than 2007.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting K8eCane:
I predict that this year there is going to be a lot of "WHAT? That wasn't supposed to happen!" happenings in the tropics


Maybe we'll even get storms drifting south along the Gulf Stream!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Chances continue to rise with the African wave around 35˚W. I don't see development with this until it's energy makes it to the Caribbean which in turn should allow for some possible tropical mischief in the 6-10 day time frame.

12z.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Arctic sea ice has been below 2007 levels (and normal range) for the past three weeks now:



It'll pick up again hopefully.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
don't be fooled it has happen before


This? Link

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

i believe at this time last year we were at 5 or 6 so far
456 would be best to ask
thats he's baby
when it comes to waves


Meanwhile I prefer the Eastern Pacific forecast wise.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3471. Levi32
Quoting xcool:
Levi go see joe VIDEO..wowww


Already did. I watch them every day :)

I gotta go, later all.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26548
3470. xcool
don't really care for him.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Where could we see the highest risk for severe weather or tornado activity today?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Arctic sea ice has been below 2007 levels (and normal range) for the past three weeks now:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3466. K8eCane
I predict that this year there is going to be a lot of "WHAT? That wasn't supposed to happen!" happenings in the tropics
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3465. xcool
Levi go see joe VIDEO..wowww
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IpswichWeatherCenter:


Sorry - i've not exactly kept with the times since september.

Wasn't there Aiscat or something similar to that name?

ASCAT ( Advanced scatterometer)

Ascat
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Area northeast of the Antilles under low shear:



Vorticity is quite high.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3462. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting ElConando:


Over the great lakes of the United States.
don't be fooled it has happen before
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3461. Dr3w
Quoting Levi32:


From my blog this morning:

" The system I have been watching over the western Gulf of Mexico continues to look rather tame. There are now thunderstorms going off with a weak vort max south of Louisiana, but the main piece of this energy split off to the west while it was in the Bay of Campeche, and so there is not much to this system. While I will watch it because these vort maxes can be mischievous at a fast pace, I do not expect development.

The main topic for the next week will be a tropical wave currently along 33W, which has the mark of a trouble-maker down the road in the Caribbean. I have been voicing the concern for a buildup of heat in the western Caribbean during the period of June 10th to June 20th, and the potential for mischief in that area. This tropical wave could be our first chance at that, as it is forecasted to lift northward and become independent of the ITCZ, crossing the Antilles Islands in 4-5 days. As this moves into the western Caribbean in 7-10 days, it will have to be watched closely as it interacts with the buildup of heat that will be occurring in the region ahead of it, and the TUTT may be in a position to ventilate the area."


thanks Levi
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
thats been dead since nov and not to be replaced till 2015


Sorry - i've not exactly kept with the times since september.

Wasn't there Aiscat or something similar to that name?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Another GOM blob heading for the oil spill:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i beleive at this time last year we were at 5 or 6 so far 456 would be best to ask thats he's baby when it comes to waves
Thanks! I'll be sure to ask him.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:
When ever you see waves try to develop in June, it does more harm than good when the season really starts. I am looking at more of an Emily type development in mid-July. I don't think we will beat Bertha's record. But anything can happen.

The big question is where and when Alex will form?


Over the great lakes of the United States.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting xcool:



here you go rob

They seem to have upped the chances of development in the eastern Atlantic a bit. At least since I looked yesterday.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 3506 - 3456

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

Scattered Clouds
66 °F
Scattered Clouds