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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456. 900MB
Quoting Levi32:


Yesterday I was thinking of an idea where any member, paid or not, should be able to read the Dr's blog but not be allowed to post comments in it for a certain number of days or weeks after they become a member. That would greatly disappoint trolls trying to come back under new handles, and would hopefully establish more of a feeling that it is a privilege to be able to post in here, and it is not a free-for-all chat room.

Not a bad idea!
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Western Sahel rainfall for the past month has been above-average:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
Quoting IKE:


Heck yes. I keep watching and hoping.

12Z ECMWF shows very little through June 14th.

Could be the end of June before the A storm appears.

0-0-0 continues.
Im leaning more to early july
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what about IP addresses? Someone was stating the other day that the one troll wont be back on because they have blocked the IP....
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I read in the paper the other day about the study of underwater pipelines and hurricanes. The researchers placed sensors on the ocean floor during Ivan and found that hurricanes propel underwater currents with enough force to dig up the seabed almost 300 feet below the surface, creating underwater mudslides and damaging pipes and other equipment. 31,000 miles of pipelines along the seafloor of the Gulf. pretty interesting article.
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Quoting JamesSA:
A programming tweak that might help the problem would be to require a 'captcha' validation before each post for those with too many negatives. And... do not allow those with a negative rating to rate others with the + and - buttons.

Everyone here knows what a captcha is, right? Link


I think I have a negative rating. It's kind of funny if you think about it. A troll has a higher rating than me! I guess some consider me a troll?
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Quoting xcool:




precip rate


Pcpn anomalies in the caribbean look lower than previous runs, right?
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448. IKE
Quoting CycloneOz:
Wouldn't it make your day to be staring at the "gusher cam" and all of a sudden, the oil swirling around it suddenly clears and you just see the cap on the pipe?


Heck yes. I keep watching and hoping.

12Z ECMWF shows very little through June 14th.

Could be the end of June before the A storm appears.

0-0-0 continues.
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Quoting smarterthanyou:


dumbest
comment
of
the week

leave oz alone we got big plans for him it has something to do with a cat 5
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting CaneWarning:
I think requiring a membership to comment on the blog would solve it. A troll would have to pay $10 each time he/she/it creates a new name just to comment. I would think a troll would be really stupid to waste much money creating new names.
I actually like that idea but hopefully they dont do this before december if they even do it.
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Quoting SpicyAngel1072:
Hi all,

I have been lurking on here for a couple of years now. I disagree with the paid site. It won't solve the problem, it may limit it for awhile but it won't solve it. I have learned a lot from a lot of you on here.

Why can't you just ignore the users that are annoying you? Isn't that what that button is for??
ya it is kinda hard when 10 or more user names are being used and the constant entrapment of bloggers to respond by the time you realize who it really is its all ready too late
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting CycloneOz:


I love the smell of censorship in the afternoon!


dumbest
comment
of
the week

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Quoting Drakoen:


Not sure if paid membership is going to solve the problem, especially with persistent trolls...


at least they'd have to pay to act stupid...
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I think requiring a membership to comment on the blog would solve it. A troll would have to pay $10 each time he/she/it creates a new name just to comment. I would think a troll would be really stupid to waste much money creating new names.
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436. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number THIRTY-THREE
SEVERE CYCLONIC STORM PHET (ARB02-2010)
20:30 PM IST June 4 2010
=======================================

At 15:00 PM UTC, Severe Cyclonic Storm Phet over northwest Arabian Sea remained practically stationary and lays centered near 23.0N 59.5E, or about 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.


Forecast and Intensity
========================
15 HRS: 24.0N 62.0E - 50 knots (Severe Cyclonic Storm)
21 HRS: 24.5N 63.0E - 45 knots (Cyclonic Storm)
45 HRS: 25.5N 68.0E - 25 knots (Depression)
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Quoting CycloneOz:


I love the smell of censorship in the afternoon!

It has a slightly different tang to it in the afternoon, don't you think?

(and ignore lists expand as you add them. my list of 40-something attests to that)
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Don't worry, I only have one current person on the list now.

Quoting Levi32:


That top map (MSLP Anomalies) is absolutely classic.


That... Blew my mind a bit. If that holds until later in the season we should be quite worried.
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A programming tweak that might help the problem would be to require a 'captcha' validation before each post for those with too many negatives. And... do not allow those with a negative rating to rate others with the and - buttons. ...So trolls can't use the rating system as a weapon.

Everyone here knows what a captcha is, right? Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


This blog would be dead without humor, so you don't have to apologize for everything. It is mainly #1 politics (honestly isn't there somewhere else on the internet to go for that) and #2 the people obsessed with the trolls. Use your iggy button. I'm talking to everyone here. These things can be controlled. I almost agree with someone's idea yesterday to make the Dr.'s blog only available to post in by paid members of this site.


I wouldn't mind paid only admittance. That is definitely a great idea...
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430. IKE
Quoting CaneWarning:


It's up to $10 now.


****I'm grandfathered in****

:)
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no I don't think I have anyone on mine either
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Wow i guess im the only one with no one on my ignore list yet.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Wow, ask a serious question and get a personal attack one minute later. The story mentioning the possibility of the spill lasting until December comes from CNN.


That is a realistic timeframe that I am hearing from several different sources.
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426. xcool
Levi32 :) yeah.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting hurricanejunky:


There are only 11 slots on the iggy list...I think he's getting dangerously close to single handedly filling each and every blogger's iggy list in here. Now with TropicalWave and sflawavedude, that's 2 more slots. If the admins could please go thru and recognize all of the JFV aliases and delete them as well, we could get our iggy list back! Stop the injustice!


I'm pretty sure you can ignore more bloggers than that... Well if my ignore list mostly of 2008 trolls counts for anything at least.
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Quoting IKE:
I just paid my $5.00 membership about 2 weeks ago.


It's up to $10 now.
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Quoting xcool:




precip rate


That top map (MSLP Anomalies) is absolutely classic.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
Quoting TropicalWave:


i third it, because like that, not everyone would be abel to afford it. do i hear a petition getting started for this. it'll deplete the troll infiltration, significantly.
That wont be good for me im posting comments for free on this blog and im not a troll but if its a way to stop them from coming in so be it.
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looking like tonights wx along swfl coastline will be very simular to last nights wx,w a line of strong wx moving in off the gom around midnight!!!
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Quoting ElConando:


It gets rid of adds not trolls.

What I dislike the most is when I ignore trolls and people constantly quote them so I see half of what they post anyway. I would say more but then I'd be contributing to the garbage

Isn't there an admin policy about banning those who quote posts that violate policy?

Hopefully enforcement cleans the blog up when things get busy.
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Quoting Levi32:


Yesterday I was thinking of an idea where any member, paid or not, should be able to read the Dr's blog but not be allowed to post comments in it for a certain number of days or weeks after they became a member. That would greatly disappoint trolls trying to come back under new handles, and would hopefully establish more of a feeling that it is a privilege to be able to post in here, and it is not a free-for-all chat room.

I still stand by my old idea along the lines of "you must be this tall to ride". It should be named "you must be this intelligent and tactful to post".
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417. xcool




precip rate
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
ECMWF and GFS both now agree on a big ridge holding strong over the central-eastern US in the mid-long range.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
Hi all,

I have been lurking on here for a couple of years now. I disagree with the paid site. It won't solve the problem, it may limit it for awhile but it won't solve it. I have learned a lot from a lot of you on here.

Why can't you just ignore the users that are annoying you? Isn't that what that button is for??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Some of you are unhealthily obsessed with JFV.

Kinda weird. Why wouldn't you just ignore em and move on?


There are only 11 slots on the iggy list...I think he's getting dangerously close to single handedly filling each and every blogger's iggy list in here. Now with TropicalWave and sflawavedude, that's 2 more slots. If the admins could please go thru and recognize all of the JFV aliases and delete them as well, we could get our iggy list back! Stop the injustice!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:


Not sure if paid membership is going to solve the problem, especially with persistent trolls...


It gets rid of adds not trolls.

What I dislike the most is when I ignore trolls and people constantly quote them so I see half of what they post anyway. I would say more but then I'd be contributing to the garbage
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


This blog would be dead without humor, so you don't have to apologize for everything. It is mainly #1 politics (honestly isn't there somewhere else on the internet to go for that) and #2 the people obsessed with the trolls. Use your iggy button. I'm talking to everyone here. These things can be controlled. I almost agree with someone's idea yesterday to make the Dr.'s blog only available to post in by paid members of this site.


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: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting Drakoen:


Not sure if paid membership is going to solve the problem, especially with persistent trolls...


Yesterday I was thinking of an idea where any member, paid or not, should be able to read the Dr's blog but not be allowed to post comments in it for a certain number of days or weeks after they become a member. That would greatly disappoint trolls trying to come back under new handles, and would hopefully establish more of a feeling that it is a privilege to be able to post in here, and it is not a free-for-all chat room.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Wow, ask a serious question and get a personal attack one minute later. The story mentioning the possibility of the spill lasting until December comes from CNN.

Yeah, I can't imagine what it will be like in here once hurricane season gets fully underway.

A relief well is a very difficult operation under ideal circumstances, and these guys do not have a very good track record so far.
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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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