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: 3156 - 3106

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

Anyone know if the ECMWF NAO forecast is any good?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3155. Grothar
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
But don't the lines bother you? LOL, here it is without the lines:

15:00 UTC



No they don't. I use them as a point of reference for people. Not everyone is familiar with geography. More than once, when I have told people I lived in Norway, they have asked if that was in Europe. Just trying to help out. LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NY needs to be ready, if things pop again like yesterday anything can happen.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting Weather456:
Blog Updated to add influence of vegetation

Tracking African Easterly Waves: Genesis


I was wondering about the vegetation area. It also forms a gradient as you mentioned. Once again, superb update!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
This should stop the warming process some.

Right. End of April is when it really hit bottom. Just under climo, on average, since...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:

Expecting that to take a right turn, myself, and duck into FL tomorrow.

Mid-level steering:


That is possible, I just noticed the steering patterns.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
3148. Grothar
Quoting BaltOCane:


Don't they have to start exiting a tad further north so they don't get mixed in the ITCZ? That should start happening soon right?


Yes, you are correct. The waves are usually near or above 10 deg. that make it over the Atlantic.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3147. Ighuc
Tornado watch now up for extreme East Coast including Boston and NYC, stay safe!

SEL2
0-070000-

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 272
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1110 AM EDT SUN JUN 6 2010

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

CONNECTICUT
MASSACHUSETTS
SOUTHERN MAINE
SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE
MUCH OF NEW JERSEY
EASTERN NEW YORK
EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA
RHODE ISLAND
SOUTHERN VERMONT
COASTAL WATERS

EFFECTIVE THIS SUNDAY MORNING AND EVENING FROM 1110 AM UNTIL 800
PM EDT.

TORNADOES...HAIL TO 1.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND
GUSTS TO 80 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE
AREAS.

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 105 STATUTE
MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 10 MILES NORTH OF CONCORD NEW
HAMPSHIRE TO 40 MILES SOUTHEAST OF HARRISBURG PENNSYLVANIA. FOR
A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH
OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU2).

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...CONTINUE...WW 271...

DISCUSSION...POTENTIAL EXISTS FOR...TORNADOES...ONE OR TWO WHICH
COULD BE STRONG...TO OCCUR DURING THE NEXT SEVERAL HOURS...
ESPECIALLY FROM ERN NY NEWD INTO MA AND SRN NH/VT AS AN UPPER
IMPULSE...SURFACE LOW AND WARM FRONT SPREAD QUICKLY NEWD ACROSS THE
REGION. OTHER THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ALONG EWD MOVING
COLD FRONT AND MOVE EWD ACROSS THE SRN HALF OF THE WATCH THROUGH THE
AFTERNOON HOURS. STRONG SHEAR AND INSTABILITY WILL SUPPORT
SUPERCELLS WITH WIND DAMAGE AND A FEW TORNADOES.

AVIATION...TORNADOES AND A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL
SURFACE AND ALOFT TO 1.5 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE
WIND GUSTS TO 70 KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO
500. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 26045.


...IMY
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This should stop the warming process some.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
oops! Here it is.

But don't the lines bother you? LOL, here it is without the lines:

15:00 UTC

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrstormX:
Well it looks like the GFS vorticity was right yesterday, big pop of convection in the gulf. Doesn't stand a chance of becoming tropical, but LA could expect a nasty storm or two.

Expecting that to take a right turn, myself, and duck into FL tomorrow.

Mid-level steering:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:
We continue to be warmer than 2005 most notably off the African Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. A lot of heat is building in those regions.



Hmm, a lot warmer off the Florida Panhandle, could this be the oil spill at work?

I'm also not liking this because an area where a hurricane could pass on its way to Washington, DC or New York, is 7C above normal!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks 09.

Starting to get much stickier here in Baltimore. Storms rolling into Garrett county (western MD), they have a tornado watch.

Could be interesting day for the I95 coridor...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3140. Grothar
oops! Here it is.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:


Strong negative NAO has slackened trade winds and allowed the region to warm earlier and at a faster rate.
Ah, I see, thanks for the response.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Comment withheld due to blog rules. LOL

It does make a difference. Look at this one, the wave looks even better; a more recent pass.
LOL. You didn't post a picture.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3137. Drakoen
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Can you explain to me why we are warmer along the African coast over 2005?


Strong negative NAO has slackened trade winds and allowed the region to warm earlier and at a faster rate.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:


The anomalous warmth extends up towards 14N currently in comparison with 2005 (used a ruler). The waves will be coming off at a higher latitude and we can expect that the waters will continue to warm into latitudes further north.

But those higher latitude SSTs are the ones that have come more into line with climatology since the end of April thanks to the easterlies. What mechanism are you expecting to continue to warm into latitudes further north (as in the 14N to 18N range), relative to 2005? (obviously besides the effect of Boreal summer)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3135. Grothar
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
LOL, but mine's 45 minutes newer.


Comment withheld due to blog rules. LOL

It does make a difference. Look at this one, the wave looks even better; a more recent pass.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
All we have to do is look at June activity in 2005. The 1st storm of 2005 has not developed as yet. By July 1, we only had 2. The season had 28. 2006 had 1, that season had 10. June accounts for very little activity in any season active or inactive.

It is troubling since I have a feeling that by August 1 we maybe well into our list.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Well it looks like the GFS vorticity was right yesterday, big pop of convection in the gulf. Doesn't stand a chance of becoming tropical, but LA could expect a nasty storm or two.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting BaltOCane:


Don't they have to start exiting a tad further north so they don't get mixed in the ITCZ? That should start happening soon right?
Well waves don't start moving further northward, apart from the ITCZ, until about late July/early August (on average). But this year has been surprising us so far so we could have full fledged easterly (separated from the ITCZ) tropical waves as soon as early/mid July.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalWave:


Bro, dont waste your breath with individuals of that calibor, they're trolls. G'morning, all.

lol, a comment like that coming from a troll.
*poof*
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

That year we had Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike and Josephine. They formed between 08/15 and 09/15.
I have a feeling this year might see the same mass of storms, one after another.

Could be. Depends on a decent MJO spike...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
New surface map out (12Z)



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3128. Drakoen
Quoting atmoaggie:

Yet, the area of excess warmth off the coast of Africa is in an area where the waves are coming off now. Won't they be coming off at a slightly high latitude towards Aug and Sept? Closer to where there isn't much difference or even slightly negative?


The anomalous warmth extends up towards 14N currently in comparison with 2005 (used a ruler). The waves will be coming off at a higher latitude and we can expect that the waters will continue to warm into latitudes further north.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3127. Makoto1
Quoting Drakoen:
We continue to be warmer than 2005 most notably off the African Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. A lot of heat is building in those regions.



I can't help but notice the northeast coast being insanely above average, which might help something stay stronger for a longer time mid-season if it gets up there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Waves emerge off Africa all the time, it is just that these waves are a bit more larger than usual for this early in the season.


Don't they have to start exiting a tad further north so they don't get mixed in the ITCZ? That should start happening soon right?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3125. scott39
Whats that poppin up SW of the oil spill in the GOM?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Well the last season that we had a Category 5 was in 2007 so we are due for one. This year I expect to have multiple Category 5's at some point in that hurricanes lifetime, why? You have the record SSTs fueling a system among other factors that help its chances.
Quoting AussieStorm:

That year we had Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike and Josephine. They formed between 08/15 and 09/15.
I have a feeling this year might see the same mass of storms, one after another.
Plus, June storms usually help to slow the heating of the waters. If you have no June storms to stir up the ocean and cool the waters then the heat will just continue to build and when a storm does manage to form, it will use up all of the available energy.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Blog Updated to add influence of vegetation

Tracking African Easterly Waves: Genesis
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:



How you doing 09, My image has nicer colors than yours.

LOL, but mine's 45 minutes newer.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:
We continue to be warmer than 2005 most notably off the African Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. A lot of heat is building in those regions.


Yet, the area of excess warmth off the coast of Africa is in an area where the waves are coming off now. Won't they be coming off at a slightly high latitude towards Aug and Sept? Closer to where there isn't much difference or even slightly negative?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have an interesting question that I hope someone on here can help me answer- Do the areas of the gulf covered with oil heat more quickly due to a decreased albedo?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3118. Grothar
Quoting BaltOCane:


I'm guess by the way everyone is reacting to this wave train, is that this is not a normal occurance this early?? CV season doesn't "usually" start till late July-ish yeah?


Waves emerge off Africa all the time, it is just that these waves are a bit more larger than usual for this early in the season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I believe theirs about a 20-30% chance a TC could quickly develop from the mlc in the central GOM,in about 24hrs sheer may relax enough for development of a closed tropical low at the surface shortly before coming ashore near the TX/LA border,I give a 10% chance of a TD.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:
We continue to be warmer than 2005 most notably off the African Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. A lot of heat is building in those regions.

Can you explain to me why we are warmer along the African coast over 2005?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneKyle:


Amen, best post this year so far. Also worth noting, 2008 featured no June storms either.

That year we had Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike and Josephine. They formed between 08/15 and 09/15.
I have a feeling this year might see the same mass of storms, one after another.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:

Ah, but some of the same folks that are adhering to this are expecting 3 cat 5s, which we only get, on average, just over one every other year.

At some point we use the average climatology for guidance only selectively, it seems.

Not a jab at you or anyone, just sayin'.
Well the last season that we had a Category 5 was in 2007 so we are due for one. This year I expect to have multiple Category 5's at some point in that hurricanes lifetime, why? You have the record SSTs fueling a system among other factors that help its chances.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3113. Grothar
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Nice wave coming out after the one emerging right now:




How you doing 09, My image has nicer colors than yours.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3112. Drakoen
We continue to be warmer than 2005 most notably off the African Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. A lot of heat is building in those regions.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneKyle:


Can see the African wave train already cranking out strong waves, look at the one behind it.


I'm guess by the way everyone is reacting to this wave train, is that this is not a normal occurance this early?? CV season doesn't "usually" start till late July-ish yeah?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
EF2 Tornado Confirmed at Dwight, Storm Surveys Continue Today

An NWS survey team has confirmed an EF2 Tornado at Dwight. At about 9:30 pm Saturday a tornado struck a mobile home park about 1/4 mile south of IL Route 17 and 1/2 mile east of I-55. There were at least 6 injuries, 1 serious. Several more people were treated at the scene. Approximately 12 mobile homes were destroyed, with several more seriously damaged and rendered uninhabitable.

A total of 4 survey teams were dispatched this morning by the National Weather Service to survey storm damaged areas from last night. Survey areas include Streator, Dwight, and St. Anne. Teams will determine the cause of the damage, in many cases it is expected to be due to tornado. In the event of tornado, it's strength and magnitude will be determined, along with path length and width. This information will be reported as soon as it is determined on the National Weather Service Chicago website.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting HurricaneKyle:


Can see the African wave train already cranking out strong waves, look at the one behind it.
Yeah, It's probably due to the upward motion MJO pulse over the African region right now.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


OK, then atmo, just scratch that last comment!

Groan!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hydrus:
We only get a storm in June once every two years on average anyway.

Ah, but some of the same folks that are adhering to this are expecting 3 cat 5s, which we only get, on average, just over one every other year.

At some point we use the average climatology for guidance only selectively, it seems.

Not a jab at you or anyone, just sayin'.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow, take a look at the SSTs along the African coast. Pretty intense.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 3156 - 3106

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
76 °F
Scattered Clouds