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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Quoting HurricaneKyle:
Afternoon everyone!
Good afternoon kyle.Are you a new blogger like me??
Quoting Levi32:


All those things put the entire US coastline and Caribbean at risk. You can't narrow it down to specific states or countries.
I get what you're saying, thanks for the input btw.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Tutt can actually form into a TC and aid in development by exuasting air in the upper levels of developing convection associated w/tropical waves...
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Ermm... That's not good.. I know that SST's are not the only factor and all, but.. I just can't see this year coming out only to equal 2008 in terms of named storms when I see those two maps compared.. Sorry for the downer opinion.
I understand what you're saying completely, I just don't have any maps ranging to 2005. :)
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1602. K8eCane
Hi Everybody
Its another hurricane season and from what I can hear its gonna be something....
84 here in Wilmington NC but its so humid I cant stay outside for long
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Ermm... That's not good.. I know that SST's are not the only factor and all, but.. I just can't see this year coming out only to equal 2008 in terms of named storms when I see those two maps compared.. Sorry for the downer opinion.
Me either.My gut feeling says we are probally going to see more storms than that.Maybe 2003 levels????
Afternoon everyone!
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1599. Levi32
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
It's not really a question for prediction but more of what you have in place now, Negative NAO, Neutral/La Niña, further southwestern A/B high.


All those things put the entire US coastline and Caribbean at risk. You can't narrow it down to specific states or countries.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here is a question for you oilmen, how many barrels/gas and oil can a well safely handle or process. 6 thousand a day sounds pretty good.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:
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.


I am no expert but my crystal ball says that there is no way of predicting what you are asking.
It's not really a question for prediction but more of what you have in place now, Negative NAO, Neutral/La Niña, further southwestern A/B high.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
2010 looks like a boiling pot of hot water sitting there ready to be used anytime.Us humans might like hurricanes but the ocean is probally saying...Cool me off please cool me off for god sake.And I'm afraid that when that energy is used it will turn violent.
Opps I mean us humans do not like hurricanes.This is to miamihurricanes question.Well I think Florida.Trust me I'm not a florida caster and I think florida needs a break.But the A/b high is positioned further south than normal.Also sst around the state of Florida are warm.Thats my opinion.i gave it a try.
Quoting Weather456:


And why is the TUTT god for saken? The TUTT is what blows up convection along tropical waves after their silent journey across the Atlantic. The position of the TUTT relative the NW Caribbean aids in substantial outflow for genesis, i.e. Wilma


JFV only sees it as a shear inducer, and anything inducing shear on a precious cat 5 storm heading towards him is god forsaken. Sigh, troll logic.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1593. Levi32
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.


For me, at least, that question is a bit too specific to answer. The farthest I can go is to tell you that I think the gulf is at more risk than the southeastern states for getting a major landfall.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
June 5, 2010


June 5, 2008. A possible analog in terms of named storms.



Ermm... That's not good.. I know that SST's are not the only factor and all, but.. I just can't see this year coming out only to equal 2008 in terms of named storms when I see those two maps compared.. Sorry for the downer opinion.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
OTHER 8 to 10 DAY 500MB MEAN

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Quoting Weather456:


And why is the TUTT god for saken? The TUTT is what blows up convection along tropical waves after their silent journey across the Atlantic. The position of the TUTT relative the NW Caribbean aids in substantial outflow for genesis, i.e. Wilma
Exactly!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
June 5, 2010


June 5, 2008. A possible analog in terms of named storms.

2010 looks like a boiling pot of hot water sitting there ready to be used anytime.Us humans might like hurricanes but the ocean is probally saying...Cool me off please cool me off for god sake.And I'm afraid that when that energy is used it will turn violent.
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.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
IOD Plume


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Quoting TropicalWave:


when will taht god for saken TUTT be gone, 456?


And why is the TUTT god for saken? The TUTT is what blows up convection along tropical waves after their silent journey across the Atlantic. The position of the TUTT relative the NW Caribbean aids in substantial outflow for genesis, i.e. Wilma
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting rcmansour:
There will be only 8 named storms this year and NONE in June. I think they are worried for nothing
Rigggggggggghht,well okay then your opinion.
Quoting Levi32:


Also a semipermanent summertime feature.
Ah, I see.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1582. Levi32
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
How about the monsoonal trough?


Also a semipermanent summertime feature.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
The reason of the warming of the Gulf of Mexico is not because of hotter temperatures along the coast. Increasing temperatures at a rapid rate is usually due to some sort of ridging to the west, respectively, or just plain weakening of the trade winds.
Oh yes how could I forget about trade winds.And about the modles I was trying to say that the unexpected can happen.By the way where is reed??
Quoting MrstormX:
Ahh yes, a 10% chance of tornadoes across Illiana.


That would be Iowillianahio...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting TropicalWave:


when will taht god for saken TUTT be gone, 456?


Never as Levi pointed out.

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June 5, 2010


June 5, 2008. A possible analog in terms of named storms.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting JamesSA:
I was under the impression this was just the stuff of urban legends. Wow, it looks like they actually did this!


"... much valuable gas was saved for the national economy of Mother Russia, and they lived hapily ever after."


In regard to the Soviet Nuke Youtube post. At least the didn't have to wait the usual 24 to 48 BP hours to find out it worked or not. They just blowed it up real good.
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Quoting Levi32:


Never. It is a semipermanent feature in the Atlantic during the summer.
How about the monsoonal trough?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
There will be only 8 named storms this year and NONE in June. I think they are worried for nothing
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
The gulf has warmed to above average terms.And just to think that the gulf was below average awhile back.Why has the gulf warmed significally.Well thats due to above average heat along the gulf.A hot summer is in store for many.So expect the sst to continue to cook along with the rest of the atlantic.By the way can someone post a picture of 2009 at this time with 2010 please thanks.
The reason of the warming of the Gulf of Mexico is not because of hotter temperatures along the coast. Increasing temperatures at a rapid rate is usually due to some sort of ridging to the west, respectively, or just plain weakening of the trade winds.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Last I checked King Tut died thousands of years ago.
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1572. Levi32
Quoting TropicalWave:


when will taht god for saken TUTT be gone, 456?


Never. It is a semipermanent feature in the Atlantic during the summer.
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Quoting Weather456:
TUTT came as expected



when will taht god for saken TUTT be gone, 456?
ShenVFF, You are correct in your assumtion that as a betting man I would not take the odds on the cap working in the form that it is in now. If it had been built correctly, as I posted earlier, it had a great chance of working. And those odds I would have taken. I'm a betting man, not a stupid betting man.
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Quoting jasoniscoolman09:
The gulf has warmed to above average terms.And just to think that the gulf was below average awhile back.Why has the gulf warmed significally.Well thats due to above average heat along the gulf.A hot summer is in store for many.So expect the sst to continue to cook along with the rest of the atlantic.By the way can someone post a picture of 2009 at this time with 2010 please thanks.
Quoting pottery:

I know. Very strange. Could be that little smudge diagonally across the center of the Island. Over me.
Sun is back out, and so am I...
Could be.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I hear alot of talk saying their will not be anything in the atlantic becuase of what the modles say.Well remember last year with cluadett.The weather man had said it cuaght people off guard becuase no modles were expectind development in the gulf.Just goes to show you nature is the one that makes the final call.Not the modles.


Very true, which is why I never downcast anything. Although the BOC blob never developed, it goes to show you how quickly literally within 6 hours an entire basin can change. There is a reason Claudette is my current avatar, I find it to be the most interesting storm of last year more so than Ida or Bill, or any others. Why? Because Claudette represents the unknown, to think a little sheared apart area of clouds could become a landfalling TS in a matter of hours is amazing when you think about it.
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1566. pottery
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I don't find that too believable looking at the satellite imagery, lol.


I know. Very strange. Could be that little smudge diagonally across the center of the Island. Over me.
Sun is back out, and so am I...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24788
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I hear alot of talk saying their will not be anything in the atlantic becuase of what the modles say.Well remember last year with cluadett.The weather man had said it cuaght people off guard becuase no modles were expectind development in the gulf.Just goes to show you nature is the one that makes the final call.Not the modles.
In terms of long-term forecasting models can be subject to very large errors. But when it comes to 144 hours or less models are usually right, depending on which model you use. Models are pretty much our only incite into the future and we definitely have to see what they say and not leave them out of the equation. But I do understand what you are saying.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
See you guys tonight going to texas! yeah!
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
1563. JamesSA
This is indeed on the BP site... Link

Subsea operational update:
• The LMRP cap was placed on top of the LMRP at approximately 8:35 pm CDT on June 3.
• Gas first reached the Discoverer Enterprise at approximately 11:00 pm CDT on June 3; oil followed at approximately 11:10 pm CDT.
• On June 4, a total of 6,077 barrels of oil was collected and 15.7 million standard cubic feet of natural gas was flared.
• Optimization continues and improvement in oil collection is expected over the next several days.

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Quoting pottery:
BAH!
Every time I start the Mower. It starts to rain. Now there is thunder.
Guess I better have a beer......
I don't find that too believable looking at the satellite imagery, lol.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1560. pottery
There is a sign near here that says-
"Lawn Cutting Done Here"
Maybe I should take my lawn to them?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24788
I hear alot of talk saying their will not be anything in the atlantic becuase of what the modles say.Well remember last year with cluadett.The weather man had said it cuaght people off guard becuase no modles were expectind development in the gulf.Just goes to show you nature is the one that makes the final call.Not the modles.
Quoting MrstormX:


2005 saw two June storms, and I agree that we will probably only see one this year. But July could be way above average in terms of activity.
I think we could get up to 3 or 4 named storms in July. 2005 had a total of 5 named storms in July.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1557. pottery
BAH!
Every time I start the Mower. It starts to rain. Now there is thunder.
Guess I better have a beer......
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24788
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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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