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: 3356 - 3306

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

Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Oh I didn't catch that. It looks to have a semi-closed surface circulation. Shouldn't the NHC at least consider shading it yellow based on this?


Not necessarily since dry and shear lies just north of the wave.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:
2005 was active...



That is a crazy pic. Where'd you get that?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
WOW!! Isn't there a little thing that counts how many people view a page. Here's the link:

I wish Jeff Masters would use it

Page Views Counter



I use statcounter on my blog, which is on a topic completely unrelated to weather. It double counts most visits and sometimes triple counts them.

It has some interesting features, though, like a global map which has little flags on it showing where the visitors live. Click on the flag and you get the precise town, what browser they use, how often they've visited etc. It even shows the words they use to find the site if doing it through a google search.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3353. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


big picture up to 1210 edt next image just after 3
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3352. Patrap
Quoting GBguy88:


I remember Dennis, what a strange hurricane that was. The winds were barely hurricane force until the eyewall hit us, then we had maybe 10 or 15 minutes of Hell where 85% of the damage happened, then the eye. The back half was nothing compared to first half. So bizarre to be in such a compact eye, and watch the sun come out and still hear the roar of 120mph winds a neighborhood or two over.


A good read here,,as this post shows well that every eyewall is different..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129764
I got a counter! Nice.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Web Site Hit Counters
Free Web Counters
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Currently
Temperature 47.7°F falling
Dew Point 42.8°F steady
Feels Like 47.7°F
Relative Humidity 83%
Wind
Wind Gusts -
Pressure -
Fire Danger -
Rain since 9am/last hr 3.0mm / -
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3346. Levi32
Good morning all.

Tropical Tidbit: Quick Sunday Update
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3345. pottery
Raining here now, with thunder in the southwest of me.
Not obvious on the Sat Images though.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24870
3344. GBguy88
Quoting Patrap:
Dennis,..like Ivan in 2004,spurned the first NOLA evacs of 2005.



I remember Dennis, what a strange hurricane that was. The winds were barely hurricane force until the eyewall hit us, then we had maybe 10 or 15 minutes of Hell where 85% of the damage happened, then the eye. The back half was nothing compared to first half. So bizarre to be in such a compact eye, and watch the sun come out and still hear the roar of 120mph winds a neighborhood or two over.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:


7:28am EDT
Oh I didn't catch that. It looks to have a semi-closed surface circulation. Shouldn't the NHC at least consider shading it yellow based on this?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
In regards to a CV major in July that's defiantly possible. Could take a track and strength (maybe even stronger) of that of Bertha in 2008.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3341. beell
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Is there an ASCAT on the 35W wave?


This is an ascot on a Scott. Close enough?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I am a videographer in the Mobile area, and so if any storms come this way I'll be providing a live video webcast of the event for as long as we have power and an internet connection to do so from.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:





If I recall correctly,we had like 11 million page views in the 24 Hours with Ike's landfall...as per DIGG.
WOW!! Isn't there a little thing that counts how many people view a page. Here's the link:

I wish Jeff Masters would use it

Page Views Counter
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Is there an ASCAT on the 35W wave?


7:28am EDT
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


I think 2010 far exceeds those numbers in 24 hours. If I'm wrong crow me. A lot of new posters on here in 2010.
Including me.
Quoting Weather456:


the wave over nigeria
Wow, I read about it on your blog. Should be impressive to watch.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
99% of the population is peacefully sleeping when there is a hurricane to watch, and we are here refreshing the page like addicts :)

PS-Is there a way to make new comments appear without refreshing the page? I'm going to be very upset if I find out there is another way...LOL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Is there an ASCAT on the 35W wave?
No ASCAT catched the wave at 35˚W in the descending pass or ascending pass.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Wow, impressive wave at 132 hours.


the wave over nigeria
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3332. Patrap
Dennis,..like Ivan in 2004,spurned the first NOLA evacs of 2005.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129764
3331. IKE
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yeah here's the link:

Link

Link


I think 2010 far exceeds those numbers in 24 hours. If I'm wrong crow me. A lot of new posters on here in 2010.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
3330. Patrap
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yeah here's the link:

Link

Link





If I recall correctly,we had like 11 million page views in the 24 Hours with Ike's landfall...as per DIGG.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129764
Is there an ASCAT on the 35W wave?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Wow, impressive wave at 132 hours.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherblog:


Oh, didn't know that, but they developed from a tropical wave in the CATL which is pretty abnormal in July, correct?


Both developed from tropical waves in July. But Dennis in the E Carib and Emily in the central Atlantic.

What always amazes me is that these waves emerge strong, remain silent and just explode when they reach favorable conditions further west. It happens every year.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:


The most we've had,page views in a day,..was the Ike Landfall.
Yeah here's the link:

Link

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3324. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129764
Actually only 1 wave is in the Atlantic. The axis of the wave near the coast has not emerged. What you all are seeing is the convection ahead of the axis getting some help from the AEJ and warm SSTs off the coast.

If you consider all, I would say 35W, 10W and 15E need all need to be watch. Each is progressively more amplified than the next.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:


Dennis was not a Cape Verde hurricane.

Not every meteorologists accepts Emily as a Cape Verde Hurricane.


Oh, didn't know that, but they developed from a tropical wave in the CATL which is pretty abnormal in July, correct?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3321. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3319. MrsOsa
I live on this blog during the summer. My hubby already thinks I'm addicted and we haven't even got kicked off good yet. I will most likely end up staying on way too late into the night and have some explaining to do as to why I'm late to work the next day. Thankfully, I have flexible hours.

Now if we do have a storm approach the MS/AL coast, I will be told to stay home or stay at the office until right after it passes in which case I can give on the ground updates as long as I have power.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Yeah that was last year.. we had to pile into 456's blog if i remember correctly LOL


Lol.... ooooooooooh. Good times.
(really? in 09 that happened? what was going on then? I can't even think of anything...)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3308*

Wouldn't call it fun. There's a lot of bickering on where the hurricanes will go. There's basically a "wishcaster" for every direction the storm could take. And, then there's noobs saying it will become the next Andrew or Katrina and some saying it's RIP. Also, I live in South Florida (Broward County) and it looks like we may have some major hurricanes to deal with this year.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3316. Drakoen
Some of the blogs Jeff Masters made on Ike have 0 posts. I guess admins deleted the posts...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherblog:
I think this may resemble 2008 and possibly 2005 with the fact we may have a (or some) major Cape Verde storms starting in early July.

2005 had two of them:

Hurricane Dennis (cat 4 peak intensity)
Hurricane Emily (cat 5 peak intensity)

2008:

Hurricane Bertha (cat 3 peak intensity)

Our Cape Verde may even start earlier than that if these waves keep it up and conditions are favorable.


Dennis was not a Cape Verde hurricane.

Not every meteorologists accepts Emily as a Cape Verde Hurricane.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BaltOCane:
I think one time in '08 there was a cap in the comments and it was reached and we had to go to someone else's blog and continue... anyone else remember that?


Yeah that was last year.. we had to pile into 456's blog if i remember correctly LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think this may resemble 2008 and possibly 2005 with the fact we may have a (or some) major Cape Verde storms starting in early July.

2005 had two of them:

Hurricane Dennis (cat 4 peak intensity)
Hurricane Emily (cat 5 peak intensity)

2008:

Hurricane Bertha (cat 3 peak intensity)

Our Cape Verde may even start earlier than that if these waves keep it up and conditions are favorable.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3309. Patrap
Quoting IKE:


I'm not sure. When it is real busy Dr. Masters has almost always had two or more blogs the same day.

Maybe 10,000 has happened before in combined blogs.


The most we've had,page views in a day,..was the Ike Landfall.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129764
Quoting IKE:


LOL....I'll probably be up watching. Not sure about eating.

Promises to be an interesting summer and fall.
I'm sure I'll order a pizza, just hope the man that delivers it isn't pist when he get's here, (Yes there's a Domino's by here that is open 24 hours). LOL, I'm going to have my first active season on the blog, should be fun to say the least.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think one time in '08 there was a cap in the comments and it was reached and we had to go to someone else's blog and continue... anyone else remember that?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3306. IKE
Quoting Drakoen:


Do you know the highest page number we have achieved?


I'm not sure. When it is real busy Dr. Masters has almost always had two or more blogs the same day.

Maybe 10,000 has happened before in combined blogs.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860

Viewing: 3356 - 3306

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
30 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron