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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356. xcool
TropicalWave ,i'm buzzzz lol
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting stormhank:
how long does the favorable phase of MJO normally last over our area ?? like a week or so each time??


That is wholly dependent on conditions...I believe the MJO can actually back up if conditions are right
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SpaceX test flight underway (CNN)
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Some of you are unhealthily obsessed with JFV.

Kinda weird. Why wouldn't you just ignore em and move on?
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351. skep
Not sure if this was already posted:

Source: Link
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350. xcool
TropicalWave going seeing .lmao
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Temperature anomalies for the past 5 days, pretty scary. Also notice the cool anomalies showing up west of Mexico, indicating La Nina/Cold PDO and the tendency for the heat to consolidate on the Atlantic side.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
346. xcool
Link


here newwwwwww ecmwf
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting TropicalWave:
gotta love reporting the trolls to teh admins and the doc. it helps make the blog THAT much more enjoyable.


Yes it does good ole buddy sir.
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I guess no trheat of any tropical systems hitting anywhere even the gulf anytime in the near future buds?
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Quoting CycloneOz:


What is harder for technology to overcome?

Incredible crushing pressures vs. dodging meteors

(Final Jeopardy theme plays)

Cyclone Oz, you wrote "Incredible crushing pressures" That is the correct answer. And your wager? "ALL OF IT!" You're our champion!

Your company has spilled millions of gallons of oil into an ocean. Do you:
A. Do the right thing, admit you messed up, and fix it.
B. Close your eyes for 3 days and hope it goes away, then when it doesn't, be incredibly vague as to how bad it is.
C. Act like BP.
D. B & C
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Quoting DestinJeff:


I am afraid it will continue throught the season in different forms ...



Link and

Link



You guys must love this dude.
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how long does the favorable phase of MJO normally last over our area ?? like a week or so each time??
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Quoting scott39:
Amen, The government sent BP a bill for 67 million dollars yesterday . BP makes that in profits in 1 DAY! Congress is never going raise the violation to at least 10 billion dollars until oil companies are not allowed to give to thier campaigns, and i mean Republicans and Democrats! This all goes back to greed and power!


Well, I found it very interesting that despite all the screaming about BP giving to Obama's campaign, it was a Republican that held up the vote to raise the cap

And that is my last purely political comment today
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If a disturbance does indeed make it's way into the GOM, it appears that it will have marginal to favorable upper level conditions.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
West Palm Beach, Florida (Airport)
Updated: 38 min 27 sec ago
94 °F NEAR RECORD(96)

Heat Index: 103 °F

Give me some rain!!
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Quoting TropicalWave:


will it continue into july, levi?


It is likely to.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
if anyone want a closer loop of that wave over africa that looks cool here it is

Link

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Quoting Levi32:
Monster ridge:

European Day 10



Almost an Omega block.
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Quoting DestinJeff:


Don't you mean the GOO?


Fun note from the JTWC forecast on Phet from 5AM: They called the Gulf of Oman GOO too. I immediately thought "how did that get into the Gulf of Mexico?" Even though I knew what was meant.
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327. xcool


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


These circular references confuse me. and Excel. haha


That was intentional :P
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting IKE:


I think quite a few would say....screw it, after it's happens. I've had enough here. I'm gone.

We can get pictures of Mars w/a rover but can't stop an oil leak 5,000 feet under water?



A ton of people will say that, especially if their homes get foreclosed on. It's going to get ugly.
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322. IKE
Quoting DestinJeff:


Don't you mean the GOO?


Yeah the GOO.


Quoting CaneWarning:


You mean the GOO?


Ditto! LOL
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Monster ridge:

European Day 10

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
So many 'youngsters' on this blog....

it's my new haircut....Betty Page...

:)
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Could anyone tell me how to calculate the heat index on my weather station . Yesterday the heat index for Flores Guatemala was 121 and i tell you that was unbearable
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318. IKE
Quoting Levi32:


I imagine the total damages of a major hurricane crossing the oil spill and then making landfall on the gulf coast would be unimaginable.


I think quite a few would say....screw it, after it's happens. I've had enough here. I'm gone.

We can get pictures of Mars w/a rover but can't stop an oil leak 5,000 feet under water?

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This is not good news. This persistent ridging pattern is just scorching the gulf. The entire summer will likely resemble this pattern with warm in the eastern United States.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
TropicalWave are tehre any severe tuhundrstorms down tehre this wonderful afetrnoon bud? Just waiting for teh first named storm of tihs fine season, huh sir?
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Impressive:
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313. xcool
i'm old
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting IKE:


Agree.

Nothing about the GOM is funny anymore. Seems like it's a fuse just waiting to be lit.

Could you imagine a cat 3 or 4 or 5 heading over that underwater oil volcano?


You mean the GOO?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


No, I was here. Maybe my memory is bad...I'm 52.

So many 'youngsters' on this blog....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
2005:

2010:
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Quoting IKE:


No, I was here. Maybe my memory is bad...I'm 52.
LOL
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307. xcool



nice wave
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting IKE:


Agree.

Nothing about the GOM is funny anymore. Seems like it's a fuse just waiting to be lit.

Could you imagine a cat 3 or 4 or 5 heading over that underwater oil volcano?


I imagine the total damages of a major hurricane crossing the oil spill and then making landfall on the gulf coast would be unimaginable.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700

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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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