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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1506. pottery
Quoting JamesSA:
I was doing some reading on an oilfield related blog last night.

It seems they are fearful of the consequences if they had a solidly bolted on pipe to the surface with this well as it would put them in essentially the same position that Deepwater Horizon was.

There is a whole lot of oil and even more gas coming out of this wild well, and no way to shut it off! That ship can process about 15,000bpd, and there is a whole lot more than that coming out. And what about the gas? There are limits to how much you can safely flare off without incinerating anything within 1/4 mile.

To complicate matters, the gas is going to expand to 160 times the volume we see at the well head as it travels up the pipe. And, it is going to tend to separate from the oil and rise above it on the way up.

So you see, there are some technical problems greater than how to get a good seal on the top hat.

Had to respond, 2...
Good point. And valid, I guess.
But this is not known by BP??
Good Lord, lend a hand.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1505. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Patrap:
No one exploded a nuke underwater..we have this thing called the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

And if someone did try to set off a NUKE..it would have been heard by them Boomer Subs and detected from Orbit from a Spy Sat designed just for that.

It never happened.

What folks get outta that idea I dont know.

Can u Imagine a Radioactive GOM that has a cane run over it a it delivers a radioactive rain shield and surge...?

Pffft,double pffftttt.
well ya wouldn't need lights any more everything would kinda glow in the dark
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53302
1503. pottery
Quoting AussieStorm:

How come someone hasn't been looking for it since Katrina. Doesn't someone own it?

Had to respond...
the guy that owned it, cant find his boat either. Probably..
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1502. JamesSA
I was doing some reading on an oilfield related blog last night.

It seems they are fearful of the consequences if they had a solidly bolted on pipe to the surface with this well as it would put them in essentially the same position that Deepwater Horizon was.

There is a whole lot of oil and even more gas coming out of this wild well, and no way to shut it off! That ship can process about 15,000bpd, and there is a whole lot more than that coming out. And what about the gas? There are limits to how much you can safely flare off without incinerating anything within 1/4 mile.

To complicate matters, the gas is going to expand to 160 times the volume we see at the well head as it travels up the pipe. And, it is going to tend to separate from the oil and rise above it on the way up.

So you see, there are some technical problems greater than how to get a good seal on the top hat.
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1501. pottery
Later. I have to mow a lawn that looks like there might be Anaconda's lurking out there.
Or Heffalumps.
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Quoting Patrap:


Its 2 miles thru the Cypress swamps off the western shore of Lake Pontchartrain..here.up against the RR tracks..

Rudduck,La.

How come someone hasn't been looking for it since Katrina. Doesn't someone own it?
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1499. pottery
Quoting Patrap:


Yup..them .222 pellets needed salt.

We still get these trucks that come up our road, spraying for mossies.
But they do it in the daytime when the breezes are blowing. So one side of the road gets a double dose, and the other side gets none. Its great.
When people hear the truck coming, they go across to the windward side of the street. Nice and healthy over there.
(dont know what the spray is, but they say it's fine. The mossies seem to thrive on it)
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Anyone know where Tampaspin is?.I don't remember him doing anything out of porpotions.Was he banned???

He made an appearance last night.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
1497. Patrap
Satellite Composite Images

Update
Previously available multi-year archives of imagery available from this web page will be reduced in the number of images available. These archives will only contain roughly a year's worth of data from now on.
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1496. Patrap
Quoting pottery:

And I used to run around in the forest hunting squirrels, with the air-rifle pellets in my mouth for fast reload.
The pellets, as you know, are lead. And every now and then, looking up into a high tree, and shouting, you would swallow a couple....

Now you youngsters know why me and Pat are, er , um, a little strange.........


Yup..them .222 pellets needed salt.
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Anyone know where Tampaspin is?.I don't remember him doing anything out of porpotions.Was he banned???
Banned day before yesterday but never did see for how long...assumed 24 hrs but haven't seen him today
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1494. pottery
Quoting Patrap:


Id go a tad further back atmo,..we used to ride our bikes behind the Mosquito Spraying truck.

DDT wasn't a snack food.

And I used to run around in the forest hunting squirrels, with the air-rifle pellets in my mouth for fast reload.
The pellets, as you know, are lead. And every now and then, looking up into a high tree, and shouting, you would swallow a couple....

Now you youngsters know why me and Pat are, er , um, a little strange.........
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1493. Patrap
Quoting AussieStorm:

How far from the shoreline is it sitting now?


Its 2 miles thru the Cypress swamps off the western shore of Lake Pontchartrain..here.up against the RR tracks..

Rudduck,La.
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1491. Patrap
Saw Air Force One arriving from the East yesterday on as I was approaching the River Road..on Causeway Blvd.

Impressive coming in at 3000ft..she was.

Gallery: President Obama Visits Grand Isle Friday, June 4, 2010 (5 photos) RSS
Description: President Barack Obama visits Grand Isle Friday, June 4, 2010, in his third visit to South Louisiana since the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
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Quoting Patrap:
Were gonna go retrieve this or salvage it out in Manchac this morning.

After my coffee.




How far from the shoreline is it sitting now?
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Oil and Hurricanes, tropical update 6/5/10
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1488. pottery
Quoting lickitysplit:
Well, its been another thrilling morning on the blog. Time to hang up laundry tho and then get the kids up and ready for a hike.

I hope I come back this evening to find the hurricane season cancelled, the BP oil dump all cleaned up and everyone joyously sipping a Saturday afternoon margarita.

Sounds like a Plan, to me.
See you all later>>>>>>>
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1487. Patrap
Catfish from Middendorfs does sound good..
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1485. Patrap
Quoting atmoaggie:

Okay.

But, seriously, we have been ignoring a lot of environmental issues for the last 10 years.


Id go a tad further back atmo,..we used to ride our bikes behind the Mosquito Spraying truck.

DDT wasn't a snack food.
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1484. bappit
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."


So they drilled a relief well and since they couldn't intersect the blown out wellbore and fill it with cement, they did the next best thing ... ahem.

Edit: great post from youtube, JamesSA.
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1483. pottery
Quoting bappit:


Pressure is exerted in all directions.

True. But in this case, there is an open pipe to the surface. The oil pressure/flow is still being restricted in the BOP. The pressure WILL drive the oil up the pipe, and once the pipe is open, there will be no increase in pressure.
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Quoting Patrap:



Windmill fantasies..?

LOL

Someone is surely missing some data is right.

Okay.

But, seriously, we have been ignoring a lot of environmental issues for the last 10 years.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
1481. gator23
Quoting atmoaggie:

Well, if you have to use something that big for target practice...lol.

If you're going to Manchac, pick me up some Middendorf's for lunch, would ya?


I love these regional Louisiana references Pat uses. I want to start doing the same.
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1480. Patrap
Barites and drilling mud is the polluter in the industry..its full of toxins.

And whats Ironic is that BP was worried about being fined when the Deep Horizon was leaking Drilling Mud the day of the explosion,..so they replaced the riser with seawater.

How ironic is that ?

The leaking Mud was another sure sign of trouble in the hole.
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Good Morning 456
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Well, its been another thrilling morning on the blog. Time to hang up laundry tho and then get the kids up and ready for a hike.

I hope I come back this evening to find the hurricane season cancelled, the BP oil dump all cleaned up and everyone joyously sipping a Saturday afternoon margarita.
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1477. gator23
Quoting pottery:

You just trying to cause a fight here....
The Artistry, the Tribal Passions, the Fights, the Vast sums of Money, the Startling Revelations, it's Great, but not as good as Boules....


well its better than discussing GW but about as boring
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Quoting Patrap:
Were gonna go retrieve this or salvage it out in Manchac this morning.

After my coffee.




Well, if you have to use something that big for target practice...lol.

If you're going to Manchac, pick me up some Middendorf's for lunch, would ya?
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
1475. JamesSA
Quoting Patrap:
No one exploded a nuke underwater..we have this thing called the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

And if someone did try to set off a NUKE..it would have been heard by them Boomer Subs and detected from Orbit from a Spy Sat designed just for that.

It never happened.

What folks get outta that idea I dont know.

Can u Imagine a Radioactive GOM that has a cane run over it a it delivers a radioactive rain shield and surge...?

Pffft,double pffftttt.

The Russians (and everyone else) were doing lots of underground nuclear tests in the 1960's. That was BEFORE the test ban treaty. This probably happened as it would be hard to fake some of that footage.

Of course it was on land, and the explosion was probably a mile underground at the bottom of a cemented in "relief well".

Hopefully things do not get so desperate that we end up doing it.
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Equivocally....they will not explode even a firecracker in the Gulf...period, now the jokes can continue but it will never happen.
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1473. Patrap
Quoting atmoaggie:

Dare I? Oh, alright.

That is because no one seems to care about environmental issues any more. All that's talked about is windmill-fantasies and arbitrary cost increases for reliable energy sources. Mean the issues we have "solid data on" have been largely ignored.



Windmill fantasies..?

LOL

Someone is surely missing some data is right.
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Quoting Patrap:
Were gonna go retrieve this or salvage it out in Manchac this morning.

After my coffee.





Be careful pat.... It looks like the bomb that came into the lagoon on Gilligans Island...
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Quoting lickitysplit:
I get to wondering...how much chronic, day-to-day pollution is associated with offshore drilling in the GOM? I read an article a week or so ago that talked about the millions of gallons of mercury that industry dumps into the GOM every year. But do we have solid data on that and what are the regulations? Who controls this stuff? Alot of oil was spilled during Katrina and Rita but we havent talked much about that. How much oil REALLY goes into the GOM every year?

Dare I? Oh, alright.

That is because no one seems to care about environmental issues any more. All that's talked about is windmill-fantasies and arbitrary cost increases for reliable energy sources. Meanwhile the issues we have "solid data on" have been largely ignored.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
1470. pottery
Quoting gator23:

a really boring sport where men kick a ball around for a long time, the winner is determined by whoever puts me to sleep first.

You just trying to cause a fight here....
The Artistry, the Tribal Passions, the Fights, the Vast sums of Money, the Startling Revelations, it's Great, but not as good as Boules....
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God I really must be trying to lighten up if that was the best I could do for my first post of the day....damn!
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1468. bappit
Quoting JamesSA:
I was under the impression this was just the stuff of urban legends. Wow, it looks like they actually did this!



Illustrates what could happen if the well casing is compromised.
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Ummmm, what's wrong with spandex :-)
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Quoting Orcasystems:


No No No... you have made the typical American mistake ... thats what you call feetball or football or something like that.

Soccer is a sport of skill and dexterity. Not a game where you wear enough padding to stop a mack truck and wear tight spandex pants.


BWWWWWWWWWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!!! Excellent.
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1465. gator23
Quoting Orcasystems:


No No No... you have made the typical American mistake ... thats what you call feetball or football or something like that.

Soccer is a sport of skill and dexterity. Not a game where you wear enough padding to stop a mack truck and wear tight spandex pants.


Oh my mistake, I thought I was referring to that sport where the audience is so hard up for some action that they get excited whenever a man kicking a ball gets within 100 feet of a GIANT goal and still manages to miss.
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1464. gator23
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Them's fighting words in the Caribbean. LOL


Not if your Cuban or Dominican soccer isnt that big in those countries. Heck for that matter the US is a Caribbean nation too.
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Good Morning

Blog Updated
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Quoting gator23:

a really boring sport where men kick a ball around for a long time, the winner is determined by whoever puts me to sleep first.


No No No... you have made the typical American mistake ... thats what you call feetball or football or something like that.

Soccer is a sport of skill and dexterity. Not a game where you wear enough padding to stop a mack truck and wear tight spandex pants.
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1461. bappit
Quoting pottery:

But putting a seal under the cap is not going to increase pressure. The pressure flows out the top of the pipe on the surface...


Pressure is exerted in all directions.
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Quoting gator23:

a really boring sport where men kick a ball around for a long time, the winner is determined by whoever puts me to sleep first.
Them's fighting words in the Caribbean. LOL
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1459. Patrap
No one exploded a nuke underwater..we have this thing called the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

And if someone did try to set off a NUKE..it would have been heard by them Boomer Subs and detected from Orbit from a Spy Sat designed just for that.

It never happened.

What folks get outta that idea I dont know.

Can u Imagine a Radioactive GOM that has a cane run over it a it delivers a radioactive rain shield and surge...?

Pffft,double pffftttt.
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Soccer?

Just happens to be the greatest team sport ever.
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AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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1456. gator23
Quoting Patrap:


Whats soccer?

a really boring sport where men kick a ball around for a long time, the winner is determined by whoever puts me to sleep first.
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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.