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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1656. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number THIRTY-NINE
CYCLONIC STORM PHET (ARB02-2010)
14:30 PM IST June 5 2010
=======================================

At 12:00 PM UTC, Cyclonic STom Phet over northwest Arabian Sea off Makaran coast moved eastward and lays centered near 24.5N 61.5E, or 100 kms southwest of Jiwani, Pakistan, 570 kms west southwest of Karachi, Pakistan, and 750 kms west northwest of Naliya, Gujarat.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 40 knots with a central pressure of 994 hPa. The state of the sea is high around the system's center. Jiwana, Pakistan reported surface low pressure of 998.4 hPa with 24 hour pressure fall of 8.8 hPa and winds of 40 knots at 12:00 PM UTC.

Satellite imagery shows broken intense convection over southwest Pakistan adjoining Iran and Arabian Sea north of 21.0N and between 60.5E to 67.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature due to convection is -65C in association with the system.

Vertical wind shear of horizontal wind over the region is moderate to high as the system is under the influence of mid latitude westerlies. The system lies to north of upper tropospheric ridge, which roughly runs along 23.0N over the region.

The system would weaken gradually and move east northeastward and cross Pakistan coast near 64.0E between 3:00 - 6:00 AM UTC, tomorrow.

Gale winds of 35-40 knots with gusts of 45 knots would occur along and off Makaran coast during the next 12 hours and reduce to 30-35 knots thereafter. Sea conditions will be high along and off this coast during the next 12 hours and very rough thereafter.

Storm Surge Guidance For Pakistan
===================================
Storm surge of about 1 meter above the astronomical tide would occur around the time of landfall.
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1654. pottery
Quoting hydrus:
A piston with a valve....jk Good afternoon Pott. Did you get a cold one because of the rain?

Got me there too!!
Yeah, a nice shower, then the sun came out, turned the moisture to steam, and after 45 mins I had to retreat inside. Like a dam sauna!
But the Lager was good!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
1652. leo305
Quoting rossclick:
Bexley Park, Delray Beach, Florida (PWS)
Mostly Cloudy
92.3 °F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 67%
Dew Point: 80 °F
Wind: 2.0 mph from the SW
Wind Gust: 6.0 mph
Pressure: 30.02 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 111 °F


I rarely see the dew point hit 80.. o-O
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1651. pottery
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


About 3 lbs plucked and dressed

LOL, you got me there, heheheh
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Its scorching here today!
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1649. hydrus
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


About 3 lbs plucked and dressed
lol
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1648. leo305
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Damn!

Miami, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 1 sec ago
Scattered Clouds
94.0 °F
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 46%
Dew Point: 70 °F
Wind: 5.0 mph from the SSW
Wind Gust: 10.0 mph
Pressure: 30.00 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 109 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 11 out of 16
Clouds:
Scattered Clouds 3000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 21 ft


expect some HUGE storms during the PM..

so much moisture, and a SOUTH wind will push them to the north, BUT the upper level winds will push them south, so expect slow movers that continually erupt
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Bexley Park, Delray Beach, Florida (PWS)
Mostly Cloudy
92.3 °F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 67%
Dew Point: 80 °F
Wind: 2.0 mph from the SW
Wind Gust: 6.0 mph
Pressure: 30.02 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 111 °F
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
people should be enjoying the beaches this year sice it will defintly feel like summer.Unlike last year the summer was cool.


Yep, plus with the oil lurking offshore (some places onshore) they should fully enjoy it while they can!

Plus last summer was pretty cool except for one week in mid june or so where we had heat indexes in the high 120's. Man that sucked haha.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1645. hydrus
Quoting pottery:

Taking a break. It is HOT out there.
What is a piston valve?
A piston with a valve....jk Good afternoon Pott. Did you get a cold one because of the rain?
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Could be you were registered and logged in to MetEd and now not?


Yup, I was signed out automatically.
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Quoting pottery:

Ah!
(what's a Henway?)


About 3 lbs plucked and dressed
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
I think we might be able to reach the amount of named storms 1933 had. (only the officially recorded number. i think there's a good chance that 1933 had several more storms than officially recorded because of lack of satellites, but I don't think we'll get near that number, or 2005's number)
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
people should be enjoying the beaches this year sice it will defintly feel like summer.Unlike last year the summer was cool.

and they might never be the same again
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
So it's sorta like a good and bad thing??


in relation to where the TC is relative to the TUTT. It does not always create shear. It can cause forced accent (upper diffluence) which causes air to rise and a low pressure area to form and deepen. This occurs alot over the WPAC monsoon trough

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1639. Levi32
Quoting Weather456:


The effects of the TUTT are bitter-sweet for TCs. TUTTs also create outflow channels and low shear for developing hurricanes. The left side is good while the right side is bad - from a TC perspective.


Though, the right side can be good and provide an outflow channel as well, if the TC is not too close. However, a tropical system usually needs to be about 5 degrees of longitude farther away from the TUTT on its right side than its left side to avoid getting sheared.
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Hmmm 20+ named storms don't seem to far out of the question this year but something is holding back,and a feeling I have says we will only make it up to 16.


I don't think anything is holding back. It looks like we won't get the one or two preseason/early season storms that recent years (with the exception of 09 and 04) got though.


Not much convective activity in the Atlantic right now. Is the downward MJO pulse already here? In the meantime, conditions are becoming more favorable, with the WU shear map forecasting all shear in the GOM to be in the favorable and marginal categories by 72 hours. Once the upward MJO hits later this month or early next, I think that will be the "switch".
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1637. pottery
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


Its similar to a Henway

Ah!
(what's a Henway?)
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Quoting BenBIogger:


I tested it out and it did work the first two times. Now I'm seeing the "Page Moved" page too.

Could be you were registered and logged in to MetEd and now not?
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Quoting BenBIogger:


Not so sure what wrong with posting a link from meted.

As in, broken. Just letting you know...

Nothing wrong with linking to meted.
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Blog Updated
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


First, the original link goes back to the blog, and when the link is fixed it says "Page Moved".


I tested it out and it did work the first two times. Now I'm seeing the "Page Moved" page too.
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you tryn to get me started wundertroll???
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
If I'm reading all this information correctly then a tutt creates shear which in turn means no development.Also are those 85 degress+ water tempetures nearing the cape verde islands


The effects of the TUTT are bitter-sweet for TCs. TUTTs also create outflow channels and low shear for developing hurricanes. The left side is good while the right side is bad - from a TC perspective.
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1627. gtownTX
Quoting BenBIogger:


Not so sure what wrong with posting a link from meted.


Just that the link is corrupted and needs editing
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Quoting pottery:

Taking a break. It is HOT out there.
What is a piston valve?


Its similar to a Henway
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Damn!

Miami, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 1 sec ago
Scattered Clouds
94.0 °F
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 46%
Dew Point: 70 °F
Wind: 5.0 mph from the SSW
Wind Gust: 10.0 mph
Pressure: 30.00 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 109 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 11 out of 16
Clouds:
Scattered Clouds 3000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 21 ft
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting Weather456:
And to answer the other question is the northern Gulf coast states will suffer the most this year. They not only have to deal with a potential Katrina this year but the oil spill.
Hmmm, not good, thanks for the input.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
1622. pottery
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Are they going to install a piston valve in the Deepwater Horizon?

Taking a break. It is HOT out there.
What is a piston valve?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Quoting BenBIogger:


Not so sure what wrong with posting a link from meted.


First, the original link goes back to the blog, and when the link is fixed it says "Page Moved".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
And to answer the other question is the northern Gulf coast states will suffer the most this year. They not only have to deal with a potential Katrina this year but the oil spill.
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1619. Levi32
The TUTT is climatologically found here in general, but can go through changes in its amplification and position.

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Quoting atmoaggie:

your link is rotten...


Not so sure what wrong with posting a link from meted.
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Are they going to install a piston valve in the Deepwater Horizon?
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Quoting clwstmchasr:
TUTT came as expected


456 - I know that the TUTT is a permanent feature and the key is the location of the axis. Is there anyway of forecasting it's position over the next 3 months? Could it retrograde?

Also, with it's current position, wouldn't it deflect anything coming from the Atlantic out to sea?


The TUTT more governs cyclone intensity rather than track. Troughs in the upper westerlies would deflect storms. The season why is that the TUTT rides above the subtropical ridge. it is created due to the subsidence warming in the subtropical ridge. It does extend through the atmosphere just from about 350 mb upward so it has little steering influence.

Now TUTT cells that break off can build downwards as they head SW. These cells can affect a tropical cyclone motion. A perfect example is Ernesto 2006, when a TUTT cell moving ahead of Ernesto did not clear the area in time and caused Ernesto to deflect more towards the north (since ernesto was on right side).

The general position of TUTT axis can be predicted 3 months in advance with accuracy. Why? because it has no where to go. It will be found between 80W and 40W. it can be in the position it is now August 5 2010. What we cannot predict is the relationship between it and a tropical disturbance, storm or hurricane.
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Things to notice when looking at this graph.

1. Red: Neutral/Weak La Niña conditions.
2. Black: Defined PDO
3. White: Atlantic Ocean Tri-pole
4. Green: Cooling Gulf of Guinea
5. Pink: Entire Atlantic Basin with above average SSTs

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


At least give them credit.
Link

your link is rotten...
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Good afternoon kyle.Are you a new blogger like me??


Not really, I started blogging here late 2008 during Omar.

Nice picture of the TUTT 456, that's going to be a key player this year with not only tropical wave blowing up but shear on a system as well. Right now looking at the big picture, we shouldn't see a tropical storm within the next 180 hours or so. We're about to ender a downward Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) phase, and that tends to induce less moisture across the ATL.

At that rate, we shouldn't see an upward pulse of MJO until late June at the earliest, which is around the time period I suspect we'll see Alex (Caribbean is my bets) and Bonnie. Everything is setting up for an active early to mid July.
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.


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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
This is a question for the experts.

What state in the United States do you believe that will suffer the most damage in terms of destruction?

And to further engage the question...

What state in the United States do you think will have a land-falling major hurricane?

Thanks for any input.

Climatology is almost the only answer of any sense to this...
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1607. Levi32
Quoting clwstmchasr:
TUTT came as expected


456 - I know that the TUTT is a permanent feature and the key is the location of the axis. Is there anyway of forecasting it's position over the next 3 months? Could it retrograde?

Also, with it's current position, wouldn't it deflect anything coming from the Atlantic out to sea?


He appears to be gone for the moment so I'll answer before your comment disappears down the page.

It is rather hard to predict the long-term position of the TUTT. It is usually found between two areas of greater heat, and thus upper ridging, on either side of it. Sometimes if you know that a given pattern will produce a buildup of heat and upper ridging in a certain area, you can guess where the TUTT is likely to be. The TUTT will even disappear entirely for a short time on occasion.

"Also, with it's current position, wouldn't it deflect anything coming from the Atlantic out to sea?"

The TUTT is a very upper-level feature, found strongest at 250mb. As a result, it does not exert a strong steering influence on tropical systems, which are steered by the flow at the low-mid levels of the atmosphere on average. You will often see systems approach the TUTT, get sheared by it, and then pass directly underneath it, eventually popping out the other side where they usually strengthen again.
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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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