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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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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1455. pottery
Quoting Patrap:


Whats soccer?

LOL
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1454. 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."
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1453. pottery
Quoting Patrap:


Were gonna have to cover it bringing it backon the interstate pottery.

If I get pulled over,..Im gonna say,shucks officer,this is the NUKE for the BP spill..

BRILLIANT!!
See you in Court, LOL!
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1452. Patrap
Quoting gator23:


so you associate soccer with Spanish?


Whats soccer?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125628
1451. gator23
Quoting Patrap:
Whose Quarterbacking the Saints...?

err,oop's..!

..wrongo sporto friendo


so you associate soccer with Spanish?
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1450. Patrap
Quoting pottery:

Dont touch the pointy bit on the other side, Pat.
That's the detonator, you know? Be carefull.....
heheheheh


Were gonna have to cover it bringing it backon the interstate pottery.

If I get pulled over,..Im gonna say,shucks officer,this is the NUKE for the BP spill..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125628
1449. Patrap
We spill a lot of stuff into our Bio-sphere every second from Oil,24/7/365 Globally,..its called emissions folks.

But u know,,outta sight outta mind eh ?

Pfftttt...




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125628
1448. pottery
Quoting Patrap:
Were gonna go retrieve this or salvage it out in Manchac this morning.

After my coffee.




Dont touch the pointy bit on the other side, Pat.
That's the detonator, you know? Be carefull.....
heheheheh
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Re: 1444

Indeed it does.
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Quoting pottery:

3 goals in 35 mins! Nice game...

Half time, 2 - 1 USA.


54.1°F rising
Updated at 23:30 EST
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Quoting lickitysplit:
It now looks like there is an unrelated leak from platform 23051. This platform is about 12 miles east-southeast of the tip of the South Pass outlet channel of the Mississippi River, according to SkyTruth. Check out these satellite
images


Kind of makes you wonder how many happen that we never hear about....
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2428
More on the Katrina and Rita spills can be found here
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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?
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1441. Patrap
Were gonna go retrieve this or salvage it out in Manchac this morning.

After my coffee.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125628
1440. pottery
Quoting lickitysplit:
It now looks like there is an unrelated leak from platform 23051. This platform is about 12 miles east-southeast of the tip of the South Pass outlet channel of the Mississippi River, according to SkyTruth. Check out these satellite
images

Hmmmm!!
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1439. Patrap
Quoting pottery:

Stay with the Plot, Pat. Please.
dont read that out loud, yer'll bite yer tongue...


Sowwy...Im still in coffee land..


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125628
It now looks like there is an unrelated leak from platform 23051. This platform is about 12 miles east-southeast of the tip of the South Pass outlet channel of the Mississippi River, according to SkyTruth. Check out these satellite
images
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1437. pottery
Quoting Patrap:
Whose Quarterbacking the Saints...?

err,oop's..!

..wrongo sporto friendo

Stay with the Plot, Pat. Please.
dont read that out loud, yer'll bite yer tongue...
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Good morning Pat
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Quoting pottery:

YEAH!! I want my money back, man!


Now we dont have to worry about oil interaction....
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1434. Patrap
Whose Quarterbacking the Saints...?

err,oop's..!

..wrongo sporto friendo
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125628
1433. pottery
Quoting earthlydragonfly:
I agree with pottery, with 2.7% of the Atlantic Season over and not a storm in sight......

2010 is a bust....

YEAH!! I want my money back, man!
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1432. pottery
Quoting AussieStorm:
Aus 1 - USA 2, 35mins.

I'm cold.
Now
54.1°F rising
Updated at 23:10 EST

3 goals in 35 mins! Nice game...
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Morn'n everybody. Seems a lot of folks are sleeping in or Admin got out the ban stick after yesterdays' escapades. DestinJeff, WUmail...
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1430. pottery
Quoting bappit:


They need to keep it small to pr

They've said they do not want to risk increasing pressure and cause oil to escape from around the well casing.

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...
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I agree with pottery, with 2.7% of the Atlantic Season over and not a storm in sight......

2010 is a bust....
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1428. Dakster
Quoting pottery:
I Dont know, but to me, they need to lift the 'cap' 8" and place a seal between it and the flange. The seal needs to be formed (cast) to fit over the nuts on the flange so that the nuts are counter-sunk into the seal.

Then C clamps need to be applied to clamp the cap to the seal.

You cannot seal the cap to an out-of-round pipe!

This is not rocket science.
What the France is going on ????


Even if it was rocket science - it's not like we couldn't get the brightest minds in the country over there. But dissappointing nonetheless.

Reminds me of the time an 18-wheeler got jammed underneath a bridge. Structural engineers were called out to figure out how to lift the up the bridge to get the rig out. Crane operators were called and brought their cranes to hook up to the bridge. All the while this 9 year old boy kept tugging on a policeman' shirt. Finally, the police man said "What is it kid?". The kid replied, "Why don't they just let some of the air out of the tires and drive the truck out?"


Sometimes the solution is only as complicated as you make it out to be.
---

They need a better fitting seal for this to make any difference in the spill rate.

I am sure that BP is working feverishly to figure this out - afterall they need good oil to help alleviate the losses they are suffering - so FWIW greed may play a role in how fast this riser gets fixed...
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1427. divdog
If you go to BP's live feeds site, they are actually listing operational updates now. What a concept, actually releasing information about what is going on 5000 ft down.
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Quoting AussieStorm:


Aus 1 - USA 1, 20mins.

Now in Homebush, Sydney, Australia
53.8°F rising
Updated at 23:00 EST
Aus 1 - USA 2, 35mins.

I'm cold.
Now
54.1°F rising
Updated at 23:10 EST
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1425. bappit
Quoting msgambler:
I really do not give it much hope due to the fact thatt they built this thing when they said it was leaking 1K-5K bbl a day. Now it is 15K-17K bbl a day and they put a 6 in. pipe in a 24 in. pipe. Might have worked at the lower numbr but not the larger. They should have modified the LMRP and put on at least a 12-18 in. pipe and then it would have had a chance. But what the heck do I know.


Quoting IKE:


LOL.


They've said they do not want to risk increasing pressure and cause oil to escape from around the well casing.
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1424. divdog
Quoting divdog:
They collected 1800 in 12 hours according to their website
That would translate to a 24% collection rate if true.
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Quoting IKE:


It is terrible. It hasn't affected my job, so far. I have a lot to be thankful for. A lot of people are not as fortunate.
It has affected ours but not too bad yet. I'm sure it will get worse before long if it gets any worse around Mobile Bay. If any ships have to divert to Houston, or Jacksonville then we will get affected even more.
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1422. IKE
Quoting divdog:
They collected 1800 in 12 hours according to their website


Good...that's a better ratio....that's 1,800 of... half of 15,000(barrels a day average) or...7,500.

Figures out to 24%.
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1421. pottery
Quoting AussieStorm:


Aus 1 - USA 1, 20mins.

Now in Homebush, Sydney, Australia
53.8°F rising
Updated at 23:00 EST

Keep us posted Aussie.
Nice come-back.
( I cant say more than that, because I dont want to prematurely declare my favourite as yet, in this game. It would probably cause more Domestic strife than I can deal with on this otherwise lovely morning)
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1420. IKE
SYNOPSIS FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO
430 AM CDT SAT JUN 05 2010

.SYNOPSIS...WEAKENING LOW PRES ALONG THE SE TEXAS AND SW
LOUISIANA BORDERS WILL DRIFT N AND DISSIPATE THROUGH TONIGHT.
OTHERWISE WEAK HIGH PRESSURE TO DOMINATE MOST OF THE GULF
THROUGH THE PERIOD. A COLD FRONT WILL DROP S AND INTO THE
NE GULF WATERS MON THEN STALL FROM NEAR MOBILE BAY TO TAMPA BAY
MON NIGHT...THEN SINK FURTHER S AND DISSIPATE THROUGH WED.
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1419. divdog
Quoting IKE:


Actually my math is wrong....it's spewing 15,000 barrels a day. They've collected 1,800.

In 36 hours that would equal 22,500 barrels...if they've collected 1,800, they're collecting 8%.
They collected 1800 in 12 hours according to their website
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1418. IKE
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I was watching CNN yesterday and in terms of gallons it is a crying shame. At the time I watched it was already 36,000,000 gallons leaked. What a catastrophe and so sad for the people who make their living in the GOM and all the sea life there.


It is terrible. It hasn't affected my job, so far. I have a lot to be thankful for. A lot of people are not as fortunate.
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1417. IKE
Wikipedia page on the GOO disaster is getting updated every few minutes to hourly...Link
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1416. pottery
Quoting msgambler:
I would never differ with you pottery. That is Amys job...LOL

Oh NO! Its too early to have Domestic issues.....
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Quoting AussieStorm:

1 - 0 USA 3mins, woops. I have my winter gloves on to keep my hands warm its 50F here


Aus 1 - USA 1, 20mins.

Now in Homebush, Sydney, Australia
53.8°F rising
Updated at 23:00 EST
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I would never differ with you pottery. That is Amys job...LOL
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Met Service of Jamaica website

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

LOCAL WEATHER FORECAST

SIGNIFICANT FEATURE…High Pressure Ridge across the northern Caribbean.

Comment…
High Pressure Ridge is expected to gradually weaken throughout the period.A Trough is expected to develop over Jamaica on Monday.

TODAY'S FORECAST
This Morning… Mainly sunny.

This Afternoon… Expect isolated showers and thunderstorms
mainly over western parishes and inland areas.

Tonight… Fair.
Maximum Temperature expected for
Kingston today… 33 degrees Celsius.
Maximum Temperature expected for
Montego Bay today… 34 degrees Celsius.

3-DAYS FORECAST (starting tomorrow)
Sun /Mon… Mainly sunny mornings with isolated afternoon
showers and thunderstorms mainly across central and
western parishes.
Tues… scattered showers and thunderstorm especially
during the afternoon across most places

Regionally… Tropical Waves continue to migrate across
the southern Caribbean.


pef
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Quoting IKE:


Actually my math is wrong....it's spewing 15,000 barrels a day. They've collected 1,800.

In 36 hours that would equal 22,500 barrels...if they've collected 1,800, they're collecting 8%.
I was watching CNN yesterday and in terms of gallons it is a crying shame. At the time I watched it was already 36,000,000 gallons leaked. What a catastrophe and so sad for the people who make their living in the GOM and all the sea life there.
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1411. pottery
Quoting msgambler:
Good morning pottery. I see your getting crap started early....LOL
I'll give you three guesses of who you may bring out with comments like that and you'll be right with all three...LOL

I choose-
J
F
and V.
In that order,
But you may differ of course.
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1410. IKE
Quoting pottery:
I Dont know, but to me, they need to lift the 'cap' 8" and place a seal between it and the flange. The seal needs to be formed (cast) to fit over the nuts on the flange so that the nuts are counter-sunk into the seal.

Then C clamps need to be applied to clamp the cap to the seal.

You cannot seal the cap to an out-of-round pipe!

This is not rocket science.
What the France is going on ????


LOL.
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1409. IKE
Quoting DestinJeff:
But flow increased by ~ 20% with the cut, so does that make for a net increase in GOO deposit?


Hadn't thought about that. May have done more harm, then good, so far.

Quoting msgambler:
I really do not give it much hope due to the fact thatt they built this thing when they said it was leaking 1K-5K bbl a day. Now it is 15K-17K bbl a day and they put a 6 in. pipe in a 24 in. pipe. Might have worked at the lower numbr but not the larger. They should have modified the LMRP and put on at least a 12-18 in. pipe and then it would have had a chance. But what the heck do I know.


Hadn't thought about that either.

...............................
I think it's relief wells or nothing with the GOM/GOO underwater oil volcano.
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1408. pottery
I Dont know, but to me, they need to lift the 'cap' 8" and place a seal between it and the flange. The seal needs to be formed (cast) to fit over the nuts on the flange so that the nuts are counter-sunk into the seal.

Then C clamps need to be applied to clamp the cap to the seal.

You cannot seal the cap to an out-of-round pipe!

This is not rocket science.
What the France is going on ????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good morning pottery. I see your getting crap started early....LOL
I'll give you three guesses of who you may bring out with comments like that and you'll be right with all three...LOL
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.