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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Is the worst shear suppose to relax by mid june??
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904. MahFL
Quoting Patrap:
An alert blogger noted that BP's Net feed has been HACKED/HIJACKED.


Check it out..


I don't think that site is owned by BP. Do a whois on it.....
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
There have been over 7,000 comments on Dr. Master's blog in one day, during the approach of hurricane Ike to the Texas coast.
Let me see.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
902. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
The strongest hurricanes to make landfall in the USA, by month, from 1851 to present. Ranked by barometric pressure at landfall.

June 1957 Audrey 945 mb
July 2005 Dennis 946 mb
Aug. 1969 Camille 909 mb
Sept 1935 'Labor Day' 892 mb
Oct. 1954 Hazel 938 mb (tied with Brunswick GA 1898 hurricane)
Nov. 1985 Kate 967 mb

Poor Dennis! Strongest July landfall we know about, and yet seems half forgotten.
And the only one I was alive for.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting IKE:


And there's no stopping him....he always comes back.

If it's 50 a minute, you can't keep up with it then. You might as well be talking to a wall. Better off going to another blog that's a little slower.

It'll get real active in here when a major threatens in the Atlantic.

I believe an above average season is going to happen. Just not 23.
50 comments a minute?!?! That's crazy. Let's do some math:

50 comments * 60 minutes = 3000 comments

So that means if we get 50 comments a minute you'll be getting 3000 comments in an hour.

3000 comments in an hour * 24 hours of the day = 72000 comments

I don't think the website would survive 70,000 comments in one blog entry in just 1 day.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting CaneWarning:


That's awful. Do you know of any charities in the area that are working with wildlife? I'd like to donate a few bucks to them.



Another site I was told about

nwf.org
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I don't ignore people, they might have something to say that's important.


Most do, but when it's that busy I prefer to get ignore the few that don't.
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Quoting CaneWarning:


When it's like that, I start using the ignore button like crazy. I don't like to ignore people, so I take them back off after the storm is over.
I don't ignore people, they might have something to say that's important.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
894. IKE
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
50 comments a minute?.Wow.It's thoses days when you wish the blog was just how it is right now.Quite.Also when the blog is active trouble starts up.And we all know by who....


And there's no stopping him....he always comes back.

If it's 50 a minute, you can't keep up with it then. You might as well be talking to a wall. Better off going to another blog that's a little slower.

It'll get real active in here when a major threatens in the Atlantic.

I believe an above average season is going to happen. Just not 23.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Miamihurricanes I heard that chess takes alot of skill.Is that true.
I would say so. First you have to memorize where every single piece is placed and where it moves to. Then you have to have very good awareness to know that you're putting the piece in a place where it can not be captured. It took about 3 months to fully understand chess. It could take up to 10 years to become a "expert".
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
50 comments a minute?.Wow.It's thoses days when you wish the blog was just how it is right now.Quite.Also when the blog is active trouble starts up.And we all know by who....


When it's like that, I start using the ignore button like crazy. I don't like to ignore people, so I take them back off after the storm is over.
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890. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting msgambler:
The live feed are on if you want to watch th largeeyes.


I'm watching, but I can't tell what they are actually doing.
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Quoting gator23:
good point Dak although I dont know why everyone is so shocked. its June for heavens sake.


Yep... I am still here reading as I do most of the year. Still looking forward to Dr. M's insights into weather, oil spill, etc...

Now come September, whether this is a hyper active season or not - this place should be hopping as SOMETHING will be out there regardless.
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Quoting IKE:
Blog is like the Atlantic...dead.



I'm checking in every few minutes from my cell phone. Not much to say since it's so quiet here. Enjoy it now, I remember when things were busy we'd have 50 comments every couple of minutes. It's hard to read that!
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isnt most of the shear across atlantic basin suppose to relax over next 2 weeks???
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883. xcool





(ITCZ
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
The live feed are on if you want to watch them largeeyes. But as of now still the same as far as I can tell.
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I'm playing chess online :).
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
good point Dak although I dont know why everyone is so shocked. its June for heavens sake.
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What's the status of closing the valves?
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The Atlantic being dead = good...

Blog = dead, a sign that the Atlantic is dead...

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877. xcool
lmao
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting IKE:
Blog is like the Atlantic...dead.


and my posts sheared them to pieces
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875. IKE
Blog is like the Atlantic...dead.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Ameister12:

I noticed a low near Cape Verde. Any interest in it?

I have a moderate interest in it. Is she single?
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Hello All!
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Quoting IKE:
Feed back up.


Good thing they have that sponge mop "thing-a- ma-jig" handy to wipe up any residual oil once they get it stopped. Kind off what I do when I change my car's oil. Wipe around the plug, make sure there is no leaks, etc. But I don't have a cool sponge like that.
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Quoting LongGlassTube:
The loss of the Subtropical jet and associated shear could be the tripping point to this season. We have all the hot water we need folks you can quit posting SST's. It is all about shear now. When that goes look out.




I agree.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
869. xcool


African dust models

xcool



Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
868. IKE
Feed back up.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Day 4 of the hyper active season upon us and 0-0-0 with no threat areas to discuss for the foreseeable future.

Sounds great to me.
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The loss of the Subtropical jet and associated shear could be the tripping point to this season. We have all the hot water we need folks you can quit posting SST's. It is all about shear now. When that goes look out.




Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
WOW, take a look at this. Subtropical jet might break away completely within 100 hours.

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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
ECMWF 12z shows a 1011 MB low in the EPAC, it develops it to a 1008 MB low through 240 hours.

ECMWF 12z 120 hours.

I noticed a low near Cape Verde. Any interest in it?
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864. IKE
Quoting tramp96:
and?


I don't think he's hangin em up....

June 4 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward, under growing pressure over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, pledged to lead the company through the crisis with the backing of the board.

“My number one priority is to steer BP through this crisis, and that is exactly what I intend to do,” Hayward said on a conference call with investors today. He has received “extraordinary support” from the board, he said.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Are the models latching on to anything in the atlantic.Or will it stay quit.Another thing I want to point out is,is that if we don't have a storm or activity for a long time the sst will continue to cook.
Models keep the Atlantic quiet. With current model suggestions I think we might not see any named storm in the first half of June, but that could change quickly.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
ECMWF 12z shows a 1011 MB low in the EPAC, it develops it to a 1008 MB low through 240 hours.

ECMWF 12z 120 hours.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting IKE:
BP chief Tony Hayward sold shares weeks before oil spill

From the article....

"Tony Hayward cashed in about a third of his holding in the company one month before a well on the Deepwater Horizon rig burst, causing an environmental disaster.

Mr Hayward, whose pay package is £4 million a year, then paid off the mortgage on his family’s mansion in Kent, which is estimated to be valued at more than £1.2 million."


He saved himself a ton of money. Their stock has dropped like a rock.
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Here is a good link oosted a day or two back by fellow blogger. Keep an eye on the waves coming off Africa. Check it out, pretty cool. The next wave look very impressive and a bit further north, it seems
Link
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Quoting Patrap:
An alert blogger noted that BP's Net feed has been HACKED/HIJACKED.


Check it out..
I assume it is either an Iraqi man or a very angry man.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194

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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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