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 Clearwater1:
Here is a hypothetical (or not) question for the group. I live about a mile from the Gulf in Pasco County, FL. Should a strong hurricane hit and toss oil along with the rain at my home, will my insurance company pay for the clean up or will they tell me to look to BP for relief? Anyone have an idea or thoughts on the subject? Or maybe a hurricane would not toss oil inland a mile at all. Certainly it would effect those directly on the coast so same question for those homeowners. Thanks in advance.

Doc masters suggested oil in spray could be tossed quite a distance, but also suggested that the rain should dillute it to insignificance except in rare cases. If you are out of surge range, I wouldnt worry about oil too much ... and if your house gets flooded from the surge, there really shouldnt be any more damage inflicted by oil because generally those houses are total losses anyway. just my two cents. Health hazards are going to be more critical however after the water subsides and thats where BP should have to pay.
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Here is a hypothetical (or not) question for the group. I live about a mile from the Gulf in Pasco County, FL. Should a strong hurricane hit and toss oil along with the rain at my home, will my insurance company pay for the clean up or will they tell me to look to BP for relief? Anyone have an idea or thoughts on the subject? Or maybe a hurricane would not toss oil inland a mile at all. Certainly it would effect those directly on the coast so same question for those homeowners. Thanks in advance.
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702. xcool
CycloneOz lmao
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Quoting Chicklit:
The Russians have used that strategy on land, not 5,000 feet under water in the GOM.
Ruskies aren't exactly known for sound ecology.

Its sad ... but reality is the amount of damage ecologically that a low yield tactical nuclear device 5000' below in a large body of water is negligible imo. MUCH less damage than the oil for sure. Of course, it needs to be a last resort because should it fail the only thing that could help would be more nukes until it sealed because I doubt the original well would remain intact due to the shockwave and pressure, therfor eliminating the chance of a relief wall tapping it.

edit: Of course, after the nuke sealed it a containment dome could be placed and cemented into place, further reducing ecological damage.
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700. xcool
I''M BACK YAYY
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An "Internet troll" or "Forum Troll" is a person who posts outrageous message to bait people to answer. Trolls desperately seek the attention they crave by harassing the forum members and moderators.

The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction and not to respond to trolling messages
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54347
The Russians have used that strategy on land, not 5,000 feet under water in the GOM.
Ruskies aren't exactly known for sound ecology.
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Quoting Clearwater1:


They use to rely on ship reports. I've read some interesting articles on the subject. One storm that hist TX they lost the storm and before they knew it and could do anything about it, she apeared at their doorstep.


yea I heard about that, that was way back in 1919
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7816
Quoting Chicklit:
nukes as a cure is depressing fo sho.
talk about oilapocalypse...sheeze. pleeeze. no.
just had a great drenching here in ECFL to cool things off.
another big wave exiting Africa within next 12h or so.


That's the wave I've been watching. It will be exiting into some particularly warm and deep water, and it should be far enough north to do some spinning up even as it clears the coast. Shear, of course, remains the big question:



I need to do some looking at models. I don't know if any of them are trying to develop this.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:




"Nuclear oil hurricanes throwing radioactive tar balls into swimming pools all over the gulf coast" XD

While I think that's a bit overblown, I agree its a bad idea to put radioactivity into the gulf.
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ALright jkids...out of here for now...play nice!
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Quoting winter123:

I think that's just due to the fact there was no satellite in 1933, so they could only track a storm when it was near land.


They use to rely on ship reports. I've read some interesting articles on the subject. One storm that hist TX they lost the storm and before they knew it and could do anything about it, she apeared at their doorstep.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

I must admit, the nuclear weapon idea is looking more and more attractive with each passing moment. Maybe a low yield nuclear warhead would produce enough heat to weld the sea floor, stopping the leak, with minimal nuclear fallout?


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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Great Idea!! Where is MiamiHurricanes :P
Right here, :).
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Really bad weather outside. I'll have a post of my 'Thunderstorm hunting" if you could call it that later today on my blog.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
687. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number THIRTY-FOUR
SEVERE CYCLONIC STORM PHET (ARB02-2010)
23:30 PM IST June 4 2010
=======================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Severe Cyclonic Storm Phet over northwest Arabian Sea remained practically stationary and lays centered near 23.0N 59.5E, or 50 kms north northeast of Sur, Oman, 950 kms west of Naliya, Gujarat, and 800 kms west southwest of Karachi, Pakistan.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 55 knots with a central pressure of 986 hPa. The state of the sea is very high around the system's center.

Satellite imagery shows broken intense to very intense convection over Arabian Sea north of 21.0N and west of 64.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature due to convection is -65C in association with the system.

Vertical wind shear of horizontal wind over the region is low to moderate. The wind shear is moderate to high to the northeast of the system. The system lies south 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 northeastward towards Pakistan coast.

Gale winds of 55-60 knots gusting to 65 knots would occur along and off Oman coast during the next 12 hours. Gale winds of 45-50 knots gusting to 55 knots would occur along and off Makran coast during the next 24 hours. Sea conditions will be very high along and off this coast.
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nukes as a cure is depressing fo sho.
talk about oilapocalypse...sheeze. pleeeze. no.
just had a great drenching here in ECFL to cool things off.
another big wave exiting Africa within next 12h or so.
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Let's hope no one gets hit too hard, though the chances of that are pretty slim in what should be a busy year. Speaking of being hit:

.Radar

The two storms within 50 miles training over my house.
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Multiple Major Hurricanes...
You're not funny. j/k
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Quoting Bordonaro:

I must admit, the nuclear weapon idea is looking more and more attractive with each passing moment. Maybe a low yield nuclear warhead would produce enough heat to weld the sea floor, stopping the leak, with minimal nuclear fallout?


Or, it could worsen possible currently existing fissures or create new ones from the massive overpressure. I seriously hope no one pursues any kind of explosive effort (particularly nuclear) until and unless relief well efforts have categorically failed. I have seen no considered discussion of an explosives approach ... only "one thing we could try." Too many unknowns. If anyone has a link to a serious discussion on this particular approach, I'd love to have it.

WTO
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hey alexhurricane1991 you can't dream on what we went through I was on the 3rd floor (top floor) beside windows with no shutters called the walkers bulding, Walker law firm and I could feel the bulding shake and I saw a crazy man on a bike rideing around and a few guys that stole a carpet from a shoe store
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681. BDAwx
I saw that there were repairs to a dock on north shore from damage during a winter storm. :\
I would have to say that compared to what Bill did, this winter was far worse.
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AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Do you guys think that Cayman will have a rough year this year


Climatologically speaking? Yes; the numbers are against you.

From a reality driven standpiont? No idea at all, and anyone that tells you they know for sure is either a liar or an idiot
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Do you guys think that Cayman will have a rough year this year
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Quoting kingy:
the BBC are saying the new BP system is catching 1000 barrels per day but BP are hoping to get much more than that when it is all fixed. With winds blowing from the south and south-west for teh first part of next week this is not looking good. There is a ton of oil out there slowing shifting owards the beaches


That 1,000 bpd is NOT progress though. Two weeks ago, when they had that suction line snaked into the pipe opening, they reported sucking up 5,000 bpd to the surface ship. BP is still sucking up 42,000 gallons per day, but are losing 168,000 more gallons per day to the gulf than they were two weeks ago.

I hope that the cap really works well once they get it fully engaged, but am pessimistic at this point to their ever getting more than 7,000 bpd flow rate.

By cutting the pipe, they increased the oil flow rate into the gulf by +20%. If they were flowing 15,000 bpd before, that would be an additional 3,000 bpd (126,000 gallons/day). They have to at least suck up 3,000 bpd minimum just to break even with where they were.

It's not very encouraging right now.

I still like my idea mentioned on here 4-weeks ago about using compressed air to form a concentrated air/water column to upwell the crude oil quickly to the surface in a controlled manner and within a contained area bounded by the expanding compressed air at the perimeter of the column. I bounced that idea off of other engineers, and technically it should work to bring nearly 100% of the crude oil quickly to the surface (upwell rate 0.3-0.5mph) within a contained area without affecting surrounding sea water and no use of dispersant. I don't know why BP hasn't tried a low-cost method like that to contain and retrieve the oil.
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hmmmm maybe we should do some hurricane trivia today
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7816
Quoting alexhurricane1991:
You guys got hammered by ivan saw some youtube videos and it still didnt do justice of how bad it was.


PensacolaDoug sent me two DVDs of Hurricane Ivan footage. I'll be editing these and putting them on YouTube. From what he's told me, this should be the "ultimate" Ivan video.
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Quoting CaneWarning:


Hopefully we'll all get lucky and the storms will be turned before they get near any land.
I keep praying for that and if they don't curve just pray they don't intensify too much. Thought we were going to get hammered by Dean in 2007 but he changed course during the night thankfully.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
It was. Had some close brushes in 2007 and 2008 . Cayman Brac was hit hard in Nov 2008 by Paloma. I am fearful for this year too. It is so hot and dry it is unbelievable.


Hopefully we'll all get lucky and the storms will be turned before they get near any land.
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Hey ozwhich video did you like the best when you watched it yourself Dolly,ike,or bill.


Dolly - My 1st time outside in a hurricane for hours. Day storm...but I almost got hurt bad (or worse.) Dolly was my final lesson in what you have to be prepared for if you are un-sheltered in an eye-wall.

Ike - The scariest storm I've been out in other than Ivan. The parking garage structure would jolt from time to time in the stronger wind gusts. Since it was a night storm, I was unable to capture footage of the piers 100 feet away being destroyed, save for one section of the Mermaid pier.

Bill - Bermuda is beautiful and it turned out to be a great vacation. I wish Mrs. CycloneOz could have been with me on that one! A really big tree limb did strike me from above during a hurricane-strength gust, but I was wearing my suit, so it just bounced off.

My subjective opinion to your question is without question the Dolly video. For some strange reason, hurricanes are easier to document on video when the sun's out.
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Quoting CaneWarning:


That was a rough year for Cayman!
It was. Had some close brushes in 2007 and 2008 . Cayman Brac was hit hard in Nov 2008 by Paloma. I am fearful for this year too. It is so hot and dry it is unbelievable.
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Quoting Floodman:


French for Virginia
Really wow have to freshen up on my french then took french in high school.
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Charley affected the Cayman Islands as a Cat 2 and 1 month later Ivan hit us as a Cat4-5. No power for 2 1/2 months. I agree, the hardest part was the heat and I was nearly in tears for ice.
Oh the ice! I cleaned out my freezer last week to make room for the ICE!
Member Since: February 14, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 664
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Charley affected the Cayman Islands as a Cat 2 and 1 month later Ivan hit us as a Cat4-5. No power for 2 1/2 months. I agree, the hardest part was the heat and I was nearly in tears for ice.
You guys got hammered by ivan saw some youtube videos and it still didnt do justice of how bad it was.
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
Quoting alexhurricane1991:
What kind of name is virginie?


French for Virginia
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Charley affected the Cayman Islands as a Cat 2 and 1 month later Ivan hit us as a Cat4-5. No power for 2 1/2 months. I agree, the hardest part was the heat and I was nearly in tears for ice.


That was a rough year for Cayman!
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Quoting CycloneOz:


*just hoping this is a baby son, and not older than twenty...* best wishes... :)
Hey ozwhich video did you like the best when you watched it yourself Dolly,ike,or bill.
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
Quoting masonsnana:
Oh Exactly! I was prepared as far a food etc. but not mentally. And added injury, It was soooo hot and humdid after with no power for days and days.
Charley affected the Cayman Islands as a Cat 2 and 1 month later Ivan hit us as a Cat4-5. No power for 2 1/2 months. I agree, the hardest part was the heat and I was nearly in tears for ice.
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Quoting xcool:
brb my son is screaming


*just hoping this is a baby son, and not older than twenty...* best wishes... :)
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:
June 3 2010


Can someone post this map or a SST map comparison with this day in 2005?
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657. kingy
the BBC are saying the new BP system is catching 1000 barrels per day but BP are hoping to get much more than that when it is all fixed. With winds blowing from the south and south-west for teh first part of next week this is not looking good. There is a ton of oil out there slowing shifting owards the beaches
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656. xcool
brb my son is screaming
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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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