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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Wow, take a look at the SSTs along the African coast. Pretty intense.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting Drakoen:


Can see the African wave train already cranking out strong waves, look at the one behind it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3104. gator23
Quoting hydrus:
We only get a storm in June once every two years on average anyway.


Yea but we both know this happens every year. Lotsa trolls
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3103. scott39
Goodmorning, Does it look like something is trying to spin up at about 93W 26N in the GOM?
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3102. Grothar
Quoting atmoaggie:

Didn't I tell you that it was Iowillianahio that had a chance of the spinners yesterday?

Left out an "ichi"...


OK, then atmo, just scratch that last comment!
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Nice wave coming out after the one emerging right now:

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
3100. hydrus
Quoting gator23:


dont worry about it. This literally happens vert year. People sont realize that most years see no Tropical Cyclones form in June. And to bring up a point Andrew was the first named storm and it was in late August.
We only get a storm in June once every two years on average anyway.
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3099. msphar
Me, I like the quiet times. Just remaining watchful.
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3098. gator23
Quoting hurricanelover236:
To be honest i kmow damn well what im talking about and am rarely wrong when it comes to hurricanes. And at the end of the season when it turns out as I predicted you will see that. Oh btw i can also guarantee that florida is safe.

You always say you are right but you have NEVER been right and can provide NO evidence as to the last time you were right.
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Quoting MrstormX:


Looks like the worst tornado thus far was in Ohio, 5 dead with more probable. Thankfully the Peoria tornado wasn't that bad, its always scare when a tornado emergency is issued though. Hopefully we will get better vidoes as the day goes on.

A pic from that one:
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Quoting Drakoen:


Just adding to the heat build-up in the Caribbean.
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3095. Dakster
Amen. Floridaweatherfreak...

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3094. Drakoen
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3093. gator23
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
People on this blog who are calling this season a bust because there has yet to be a named storm should just be blocked. They're not the type to contribute useful information to the WU bloggers, and they're also giving the novice bloggers a false sense of security for the upcoming year.

No one on this blog should put any large amount of trust into anything read on here. Period. Some of us claim to be meteorologists, but who can know for sure who anyone on here actually is?

As a side note to those "disappointed" in the 2010 hurricane season so far, let me point out a number of situations where no June storm at all leads to a devastating hurricane season:

1992- Hurricane Andrew (The "A" storm, mind you) formed on August 17. We all know the outcome of this. There were no named systems in June of 1992.

2004- The first storm of this year, Hurricane Alex, formed at the end of July. That season, 4 hurricanes struck Florida.

There are plenty more (I just don't feel like going through all the data right now). The point is, don't make any judgments about the extent of the hurricane season on the SIXTH day. That's ridiculous. Instead of bashing the season, why don't you add some useful info to the blog?


dont worry about it. This literally happens vert year. People sont realize that most years see no Tropical Cyclones form in June. And to bring up a point Andrew was the first named storm and it was in late August.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
People on this blog who are calling this season a bust because there has yet to be a named storm should just be blocked. They're not the type to contribute useful information to the WU bloggers, and they're also giving the novice bloggers a false sense of security for the upcoming year.

No one on this blog should put any large amount of trust into anything read on here. Period. Some of us claim to be meteorologists, but who can know for sure who anyone on here actually is?

As a side note to those "disappointed" in the 2010 hurricane season so far, let me point out a number of situations where no June storm at all leads to a devastating hurricane season:

1992- Hurricane Andrew (The "A" storm, mind you) formed on August 17. We all know the outcome of this. There were no named systems in June of 1992.

2004- The first storm of this year, Hurricane Alex, formed at the end of July. That season, 4 hurricanes struck Florida.

There are plenty more (I just don't feel like going through all the data right now). The point is, don't make any judgments about the extent of the hurricane season on the SIXTH day. That's ridiculous. Instead of bashing the season, why don't you add some useful info to the blog?


Amen, best post this year so far. Also worth noting, 2008 featured no June storms either.
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Quoting germemiguel:
hello, excuse my english I'm french from Martinique ;-)

the tropical wave located about 31-32W will have to be strong because there is a large pocket of dry air to its north west ....

If she ever gets a turn more seriously dry air will probably kill its storms

http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/2338/m8wvmid.jpg




Bonjour mon ami! Perfect english there and excellent observations on the tropical wave and it's environs for future development.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Beyond halfway, you can see some demolished structures near the top of the vid...

Yeah, goofy post of emergency vehicles, mostly.


Looks like the worst tornado thus far was in Ohio, 5 dead with more probable. Thankfully the Peoria tornado wasn't that bad, its always scare when a tornado emergency is issued though. Hopefully we will get better vidoes as the day goes on.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting Drakoen:
Impressive tropical wave off the coast of Africa:

Wow, very nice.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
3088. pottery
Quoting atmoaggie:

Beyond halfway, you can see some demolished structures near the top of the vid...

Yeah, goofy post of emergency vehicles, mostly.

:)
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Quoting pottery:

A pretty pointless view of a staging area for ER vehicles with the promise -denied- of more to come.
Whoever created that, is into trucks and asphalt, big time, and entirely missed the point.
AH! Camera-men!

Beyond halfway, you can see some demolished structures near the top of the vid...

Yeah, goofy post of emergency vehicles, mostly.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3086. divdog
Quoting hurricanelover236:
To be honest i kmow damn well what im talking about and am rarely wrong when it comes to hurricanes. And at the end of the season when it turns out as I predicted you will see that. Oh btw i can also guarantee that florida is safe.
Give it a rest please !!
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Quoting Drakoen:
Impressive tropical wave off the coast of Africa:



Especially for early June. A sign of the season to come.
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Quoting Orcasystems:




Ignore and move on.
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3083. pottery
Quoting atmoaggie:
Streater tornado damage, aerial view. Most of it beyond halfway through the video here: http://www.necn.com/06/06/10/Tornadoes-hit-central-Illinois-/landing.html?blockID=248115&feedID =421 5

A pretty pointless view of a staging area for ER vehicles with the promise -denied- of more to come.
Whoever created that, is into trucks and asphalt, big time, and entirely missed the point.
AH! Camera-men!
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3082. Drakoen
Impressive tropical wave off the coast of Africa:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
People on this blog who are calling this season a bust because there has yet to be a named storm should just be blocked. They're not the type to contribute useful information to the WU bloggers, and they're also giving the novice bloggers a false sense of security for the upcoming year.

No one on this blog should put any large amount of trust into anything read on here. Period. Some of us claim to be meteorologists, but who can know for sure who anyone on here actually is?

As a side note to those "disappointed" in the 2010 hurricane season so far, let me point out a number of situations where no June storm at all leads to a devastating hurricane season:

1992- Hurricane Andrew (The "A" storm, mind you) formed on August 17. We all know the outcome of this. There were no named systems in June of 1992.

2004- The first storm of this year, Hurricane Alex, formed at the end of July. That season, 4 hurricanes struck Florida.

There are plenty more (I just don't feel like going through all the data right now). The point is, don't make any judgments about the extent of the hurricane season on the SIXTH day. That's ridiculous. Instead of bashing the season, why don't you add some useful info to the blog?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The death toll is now up to 5 in the Ohio tornado according to wood county sheriff, Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station has been damaged and shut down.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
The Caribbean looks like the beginning of September, and Gulf looks like the beginning of July. I wouldn't be surprised to see 32C warm SST spots in the Caribean by September.



As we can see, the former ENSO Modoki warm pool is drifting northwest. The heat is pooling towards Japan.



Interesting system in the Central Atlantic, and in the Gulf.
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This video gives a pretty good summary thus far from the Streator tornado.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
3070. language mate, keep it down. How about posting some data, facts and stuff actually worth seeing and reading other than fowl language. Then we could have a civilized discussion which would be great for a slow blog.
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Quoting hurricanelover236:
To be honest i kmow damn well what im talking about and am rarely wrong when it comes to hurricanes. And at the end of the season when it turns out as I predicted you will see that. Oh btw i can also guarantee that florida is safe.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
hello, excuse my english I'm french from Martinique ;-)

the tropical wave located about 31-32W will have to be strong because there is a large pocket of dry air to its north west ....

If she ever gets a turn more seriously dry air will probably kill its storms

http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/2338/m8wvmid.jpg


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Quoting MrstormX:


After what happened yesterday people in that region need to be aware of a possible tornado outbreak.




Yep, could be a crazy day.

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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
NYC under the gun.



After what happened yesterday people in that region need to be aware of a possible tornado outbreak.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Lumber yard, meet tornado. Tornado, lumber yard.
(really was a lumber yard, pre-nado)

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Quoting atmoaggie:
Streater tornado damage, aerial view. Most of it beyond halfway through the video here: http://www.necn.com/06/06/10/Tornadoes-hit-central-Illinois-/landing.html?blockID=248115&feedID =421 5


Based on that view it looks like borderline EF2/EF3 damage. Supposedly Dwight is even worse damage wise than that.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
NYC under the gun.

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Quoting BaltOCane:


"The weather is indifferent to your opinion of it." ~ can't remember who said it, so I'll say Socrates :)


I like that one.

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Wow, Phet is hammering the Indus Delta. Good thing it's not as big or as strong as once expected.

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Streater tornado damage, aerial view. Most of it beyond halfway through the video here: http://www.necn.com/06/06/10/Tornadoes-hit-central-Illinois-/landing.html?blockID=248115&feedID=421 5
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
If its gonna happen, its gonna happen. Words don't change the weather.


"The weather is indifferent to your opinion of it." ~ can't remember who said it, so I'll say Socrates :)
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Guys don't quote hurricanelover. That's stormka - er, top. Hey has no idea what he's talking about so its best to ignore.
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AOI

AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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If its gonna happen, its gonna happen. Words don't change the weather.
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Met Service of Jamaica website

June 6, 2010 at 5:00 a.m.

LOCAL WEATHER FORECAST

SIGNIFICANT FEATURE… High Pressure Ridge over the Caribbean.

Comment…
A weak Trough is near the area and intensifies on Monday, but weakens
quickly afterward.

TODAY'S FORECAST
This Morning… Mainly sunny.
This Afternoon… Partly cloudy over inland areas, mainly fair otherwise.
Tonight… Mainly fair.

Maximum Temperature expected for
Kingston today… 33 degrees Celsius.
Maximum Temperature expected for
Montego Bay today… 33 degrees Celsius.

3-DAYS FORECAST (starting tomorrow)
Mon… Mainly fair morning. Expect some scattered showers over inland areas and western parishes.
Tue/Wed… Mainly fair and windy.

Regionally… Tropical Waves continue to migrate across the southern Caribbean. A Trough is over the northern Caribbean and moves into the area on Monday.

rar
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I'd be shocked if this is an average season. Anyone that says that has obviously, no idea what they're talking about. Even the most conservative weather forecasters think this season will be rough. Its June 6th, if you can determine the entire season just by judging the first 6 days into it you are either on your way to be famously rich or you completely have no idea what your talking about.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24039
3058. Dakster
Wow. People already calling the season a bust - it is like day 6 of the season and in a normal year we would have had what at least zero storms by now?

Again, hope for the best (0-0-0) and prepare for the worst...

Not wishcasting, downcasting,doomcasting, just looking at the setup and wondering what mother nature will bring us this year. The setup doesn't seem to indicate a below average season, but even the NHC gives that a 5% chance of happening.

Also, anyone who is correct ONE YEAR to me is still not a "forecaster with skill". Evena blind squierel finds a nutnow and then. I have "low skill" and average met. knowledge so if I said this season is going to be ______ it would be nothing more than a guess.
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Quoting gulfcoastdweller:


cool, have fun at the casinos, it's very hot here, we will have the Blessing of the Fleet today, it ends at the Isle
Yeah, We'll be late, won't be there till about 5pm. That is where we stay when we go over.
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3056. peejodo
Looking at the blob coming off of Africa, doesn't that appear to be way south?
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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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