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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Does anyone think the CAP is working like they are saying......if they cannot tell us how much is being collected....its hard to believe anything is being collected.
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1205. Skyepony (Mod)
What's stepping into the BOC isn't just daytime blow up, it's the last wave that went in the EPAC. Did a right hook, looked like it wanted to pull together as it hit that trough but the land was hindering. (2 day java movie)
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


what BOC storm?


Lol my words clearly are not going over well tonight, I suppose "area of convection" would be a better term to use. clearly im to tired to keep this up, see you later guys. Nice chat tonight.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1203. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Disturbance Summary
9:00 AM JST June 5 2010
===============================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression (1004 hPa) located at 23.0N 129.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 40 knots. The depression is reported as moving east northeast at 15 knots.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 46266
it means that it has a chhas it move n in too low wind shear we could see some in spin up here
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1201. xcool
TropicalWave .na
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting MrstormX:
Its a shame Levi is not here, he would probably be excited to know his prediciton of the BOC storm came true.


what BOC storm?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
any surface low would be hugging the mex coastline,the blow-up of convection is for the most part being created by upper level divergence over,however if that convection is over warm enough water for long enough w/low enough sheer another surface low could form in the BOC or southern GOM area,tine w/tell but I'd bet the convection wanes over the next 12hrs,maybe flaring back up,the area along mexicos coastline could move across in a few days and IMO this is the area to watch(mexico side)....
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1197. Drakoen
Quoting MrstormX:


In your studied opinion Drak, what does this mean.


No development
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Its a shame Levi is not here, he would probably be excited to know his prediciton of the BOC storm came true.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1195. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number THIRTY-SIX
CYCLONIC STORM PHET (ARB02-2010)
5:30 AM IST June 5 2010
=======================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Severe Cyclonic Storm Phet over northwest Arabian Sea moved further northeast and weakened into a cyclonic storm over northwest Arabian Sea. Cyclonic Storm Phet lays centered near 24.0N 60.5E, or about 200 kms northeast of Sur, Oman, 850 kms west northwest of Naliya, Gujarat, and 650 kms west southwest of Karachi, Pakistan.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 40 knots with a central pressure of 992 hPa. The state of the sea is high around the system's center.

Satellite imagery shows broken intense to very intense convection over southwest Pakistan and Arabian Sea north of 21.0N and west of 64.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature due to convection is -60C in association with the system.

Vertical wind shear of horizontal wind over the region is low to moderate. The wind shear is high to the northeast of the system. The system lies north of a tropospheric ridge, which roughly runs along 21.0N over the region.

Available observations and numerical weather prediction model guidance suggest that the system would weaken gradually and move east northeastward towards Pakistan coast.

Gale winds of 35-40 knots gusting to 45 knots would occur along and off Oman coast during the next 12 hours. Gale winds of 35-40 knots gusting to 45 knots would occur along and off Makran coast during the next 24 hours. Sea conditions will be high along and off this coast.

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 24.5N 62.5E - 30 knots (Deep Depression)
24 HRS: 25.5N 65.0E - 20 knots (Low Pressure Area)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 46266
1193. xcool
TropicalWave ..hey how about nice boc
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting Drakoen:
The convection in the BOC is moving up into the gradient between an upper level low over southern Texas and an upper level high centered over the Caribbean.


In your studied opinion Drak, what does this mean.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1189. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


AOI/BOC/GOM/
MARK
17.6N/92.0W

NNE
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Shear is really dropping in the GOM
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Well, good night all. Its been a hoot.
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1186. xcool


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting Skyepony:


OH MY WORD


92L?
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1184. Drakoen
The convection in the BOC is moving up into the gradient between an upper level low over southern Texas and an upper level high centered over the Caribbean.
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1183. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting TampaSpin:


Thanks KOTG.....the Shear is dropping faster than oil is gushing.....well me maybe not! But, Shear is dropping all throughout the Tropics!
windows will be opening soon
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Quoting centex:
A little further west we've had below normal spring and coming into summer, still like more rain to prepare for long hot/dry summer.

True. More of the daily rain well east of center...not picturing another completely dry July for you guys, though.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting sarahjola:

i don't know you, but love to read your post. your an intelligent guy and a asset to this blog


LOL....i don't know about the Intelligence thing....my wife would say different and i need to keep my fingers off the keyboard more often than not. BUT THANK YOU!
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Quoting centex:
If ULL TX/LE border is forecast to retrograde SW would this indicate BOC maybe not NE?

Maybe EN then NE if one retrogrades the pattern at 300mb:


Edit, meant north a little then NE.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
1179. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting F4PHANTOM:
There is no system.


Excuse my poor grammer, consider what I said to be AOI instead of system.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1176. centex
Quoting atmoaggie:

The polar opposite of our June and your July last year when we were stuck under that high... No rain for at least a month for each of us, one after the other.

Now with that ULL retrograding, we'll stay with the daily showers until it moves on.

*slap*

Hope that ULL moves along fairly soon...the skeeters are getting intolerable
A little further west we've had below normal spring and coming into summer, still like more rain to prepare for long hot/dry summer.
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1169.) No tampa not yet, but if you haven't already check out the 18z GFS vorticity model, it shows stacking near houston from this system.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
welcome back tampa


Thanks KOTG.....the Shear is dropping faster than oil is gushing.....well me maybe not! But, Shear is dropping all throughout the Tropics!
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Quoting centex:
from austin/SA NWS 3PM discussion. Not sure how this relates. -- HOWEVER THE
UPPER LOW PRESENTLY OVER THE SE TX/LA BORDER IS FORECAST TO SLOWLY
RETROGRADE SOUTHWESTWARD ALONG THE TX COAST LATE THIS WEEKEND INTO
EARLY NEXT WEEK. LONG RANGE MODELS NOW IN BETTER AGREEMENT WITH
MOVEMENT OF THE UPPER LOW TO THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY/MEXICO BORDER
BY MONDAY AND THEN LIFTING THE LOW NORTHWARD ALONG THE RIO GRANDE
AND INTO CENTRAL TX BY THE MID WEEK. THIS UPPER LOW WILL INCREASE
RAIN CHANCES FOR NEXT WEEK.

The polar opposite of our June and your July last year when we were stuck under that high... No rain for at least a month for each of us, one after the other.

Now with that ULL retrograding, we'll stay with the daily showers until it moves on.

*slap*

Hope that ULL moves along fairly soon...the skeeters are getting intolerable
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
1171. centex
If ULL TX/LE border is forecast to retrograde SW would this indicate BOC maybe not NE?
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Quoting Skyepony:


can you comment on what you think this will do?
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Quoting MrstormX:
Thatn pressure drop near the BOC system is kinda scary within 8 hours there was a drop of 4mb... and it is still going. The convection is strong, there may even be some rotation at upper levels. Its viable...


Not much at 850mb Vorticity YET....
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Thanks...I Guess its good to be back with friends ....but not the blog.....LOL

i don't know you, but love to read your post. your an intelligent guy and a asset to this blog
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Quoting sarahjola:

is this a preview of the season?


Well, I haven't been tracking tropical waves until the last two years or so, so I'm not entirely sure. I do think that it is though, because it implies a wetter than normal Sahel region of Africa.

These current waves are more typical of late July or early August than early June. I think we'll see a true Cape Verde season this year.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 598 Comments: 21160
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


That's enough to scare me straight. Almost ;)

Knowing that, everytime I look at you avatar now Im going to be modestly disturbed .. thanks lol
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does anyoneone have the latest steering pattern graphics for the GOM? That might determine quite a bit, about this systems future.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1164. Drakoen
GFS 00z shows a strong tropical wave emerging off the coast of Africa in 48 hours:

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1163. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting TampaSpin:
Evening All.....I just want to think the many of you that sent me the email of support and the posted notes of support. It was really appreciated. I was only trying to help those that wanted a site to watch the CAP. Sorry to Dr. Masters for doing something that he felt was wrong but, the intent was not to draw attention as many think but, to just help those that wanted a feed to watch the OIL SPILL live feeds...SORRY if i did something wrong but, would probably do again if an emergency type situation would ever arise! BANN ME THEN AGAIN!
welcome back tampa
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Good night, everyone.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Yes. Not to mention the general vigor of the waves.

is this a preview of the season?
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1160. xcool



Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Thatn pressure drop near the BOC system is kinda scary within 8 hours there was a drop of 4mb... and it is still going. The convection is strong, there may even be some rotation at upper levels. Its viable...
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting MrstormX:
Welcome back Tampa


Thanks...I Guess its good to be back with friends ....but not the blog.....LOL
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Hopefully you're right, but there's not much evidence to indicate that.

i know. just wishcasting. lol!
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1156. hydrus
Quoting MrstormX:
Pressure drop being reported by the Mexican Weather Serivce near the BOC system, its dropping fast within the past day it went from 1009.5mb to 1005.5mb. Something to watch for sure!

I have seen some weird weather in the B.O.C. .
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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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