Oil continues impacting Louisiana coast; storms for Caribbean and SE U.S. waters?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:01 PM GMT on May 20, 2010

Light southeast to east winds are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico today through Sunday, resulting in potential oiling of Louisiana shorelines from the mouth of the Mississippi River westward 150 miles, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA. Clouds over the Gulf of Mexico have cleared, and we should get a good view late this afternoon on how far south the oil spill has penetrated into the Loop Current. Statements from NOAA and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite data imply that most of the oil that was pulled southwards to the northern boundary of the Loop Current is now caught in a counter-clockwise rotating eddy just to the north of the Loop Current. Some oil has escaped this eddy and is on its way south towards the Florida Keys. This tongue of oil consists of "numerous light sheens with some emulsified patties and streams," according to NOAA. I wish they'd provide more information about what the sensitivity of various ecosystems may be to oil at these concentrations. It would also be good to have more information about what the concentration of the toxic dispersants are in the surface waters of the spill, but I expect no one knows. The oil will grow more dilute as it travels the 500 miles to the Florida Keys. My present expectation is that the oil entering the Loop Current this week will cause only minor problems in the Keys next week. However, there is a lot of uncertainty about what the oil may do to the fragile Keys ecosystem. SAR imagery from last night and this morning continue to show a large plume of oil being drawn southeastward from the oil spill location into the northern boundary of the Loop Current. With winds expected to remain light over the coming week, I expect oil will continue to be drawn southwards into the Loop Current and the counter-clockwise rotating eddy just to its north. Much of the oil caught in this eddy may circulate around the eddy in 3 or so days, and potentially enter the Loop Current early next week. As I discussed in my post Wednesday, the Loop Current is very unstable right now, and is moving chaotically 10+ miles in a single day, making prediction difficult.


Figure 1. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) image of the oil spill taken at 7:56am EDT May 20, 2010, by the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) RadarSat-1 satellite. Image credit: Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. SAR images have a resolution of 8 - 50 meters, and can be taken through clouds and precipitation.


Figure 2. Latest oil trajectory forecast from NOAA for this Saturday.

Oil spill resources
My post Wednesday with answers to some of the common questions I get about the 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
NOAA trajectory forecasts
Deepwater Horizon Unified Command web site
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Surface current forecasts from NOAA's HYCOM model
HYCOM ocean current forecasts from LSU

Potential serious rainfall threat to Haiti next week
Long-range forecasts from the NOGAPS model, and to a lesser extent, the ECMWF and GFS models, continue to predict an increase in moisture and decrease in wind shear over the Western Caribbean 4 - 6 days from now, leading to development of a tropical disturbance with heavy rains in the Western Caribbean early next week. A strong subtropical jet stream over the southern Gulf of Mexico will steer the disturbance to the north and east, and the potential exists for heavy rains of 3 - 6 inches to affect eastern Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic in the Tuesday - Thursday time frame next week. It is possible that a tropical depression could form from this tropical disturbance, though most of the models indicate that high levels of wind shear will make this improbable.

Southeast U.S. coastal storm next week could become subtropical
A region of cloudiness and showers just east of the Bahama Islands will develop into a strong extratropical storm over the weekend. This storm is expected to move slowly northwestward towards the Southeast U.S. coast Sunday and Monday, and could bring 20 - 30 mph winds and heavy rain to the coast of North Carolina by Tuesday. While the storm will initially form in a region of high wind shear and be entirely extratropical, it will move into a region of lower wind shear in a gap between the polar jet stream to the north and the subtropical jet stream to its south early next week. At that time, the low will be positioned near the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, and will have the opportunity to develop a shallow warm core and transition to a subtropical storm. The models are divided on whether the storm will eventually make landfall on the Southeast U.S. coast 6 - 7 days from now, and it is too early to offer odds on this occurring. The counter-clockwise flow of air around this low will probably lead to northeasterly winds over the oil spill region Monday through Wednesday, keeping oil away from the coasts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, but pushing oil westwards towards Texas. Wunderblogger Weather456 has a more detailed discussion of the potential development of this system in his blog this morning.

Tornadoes and large hail pound Oklahoma
A significant severe weather outbreak occurred last night over Oklahoma and surrounding states, with 25 tornado reports, 8 reports of damaging winds, and 23 hail reports. Severe weather wunderblogger Dr. Rob Carver has the details in his wunderblog this morning. The Vortex2 field project had a perfect opportunity to intercept these tornadoes, since they were slow moving and occurred over relatively unpopulated regions. The University of Michigan students writing our Vortex2 featured blog will have an update when their schedule allows.


Figure 3. Baseball-sized hail pounds a suburban Oklahoma City swimming pool, making huge splashes, in this remarkable video. The action gets really intense about 90 seconds into the video.

I'll be back with a new post Friday.

Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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Quoting Levi32:
NHC surface forecasts issued 18z:

24 hours:



48 hours:



72 hours:




When do you think we'll see 90L. I'm going with next Monday-Tuesday.
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Quoting rinkrat61:
B P told us yesterday that our shipment of containment boom, that we are manufacturing in Daphne, AL, would be put off until after they received a shipment from China.


U betcha..
Daphne has nice Jail right offa I-10,..

and I heard there was a UFO in Robertsdale once .
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Quoting Floodman:
There's a wide band of shear in the 850-200mb range across the entire GOM...




And the Bahammss also it appears.
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What fine print. If they showed it to you they would have to kill you.
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The UK supermajor said it is now collecting about 3000 barrels per day and about 14 million cubic feet per day of gas from the Macondo well after feeding a specially designed tool into the end of a ruptured riser lying on the seabed.

That figure is more than the company first estimate it would be able to handle.

Tuesday, BP America's boss Lamar McKay said BP may try to increase the flow even more by slowly opening the choke on the riser insertion tube.

The expansion will be slow, McKay said, to ensure that water does not get into the production stream and form methane hydrates that could clog the riser.

Oil from the riser is being pumped aboard the Transocean drillship Discoverer Enterprise on the surface, Wells said at a briefing at the company’s US headquarters in Houston.

BP is pumping methanol into the production stream to prevent the formation of gas hydrates.

Link
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Said it last week and will say it again today; anyone who "calls" cyclogenisis in a particular area 5-10 days out, then, comes back after the fact on the blog to declare "I told you so", based upon a lucky guess, needs to have their head examined....If you cry Wolf everyday on the Blog, something is bound to happen (by sheer odds alone) but don't come on here implying to all that you have supernatural "met" powers........That animal does not exist.


Amen to that. The good forecasters on here never pat themselves on the back; they simple accept gracefully the kudos of others. It really clears up the blog clutter to Iggy everyone who champions their own, generally limited, prowess at meteorology.
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NHC surface forecasts issued 18z:

24 hours:



48 hours:



72 hours:


Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
How will the government ensure the protection of the environment when dispersants are used?
The authorization given to BP to use dispersants on oil stemming from the BP Oil Spill included specific conditions to ensure the protection of the environment and the health of residents in the affected areas. BP, through the Unified Command, continues to monitor the environment for effects of dispersant use. In addition, EPA is collecting air and water quality data daily.

Under the Oil Pollution Act, state, Tribal and federal Natural Resource Trustee agencies are responsible for assessing the injury, loss or destruction of natural resources due to spills. The trustees will also assess any lost human uses of these resources, for example, fishing, hunting, and beach recreational closures. The trustees are also assessing the efficacy of evaluating impacts from the response, including burning, and surface and sub surface dispersant use.
B P told us yesterday that our shipment of containment boom, that we are manufacturing in Daphne, AL, would be put off until after they received a shipment from China.
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There's a wide band of shear in the 850-200mb range across the entire GOM...

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new map

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
May 20, 2010 — This is new footage from April 30 labeled "dispersion opp" shows an opaque liquid being mixed with oil gushing from one of three leaks. Today the EPA demanded that BP stop using the dispersant because it's too toxic.
Category:

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either the yucatan swirl has just fallen apart completely, or a new low is forming under the convection.. the shear is intense..
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Quoting wadedanielsmith:


Right. A 4 inch pipe with a pump on the surface might be expected to capture about 3%-3.5% of the leak from a 21 inch pipe...


Why BP didn't just insert a ~20 inch pipe inside the 21 inch riser pipe is unknown to me. The tiny pipe they are using is barely even worth the bother compared to the actual volume of the leak.


Far be it for me to defend BP...everyday more data becomes available and at this point I don't care who you are, this is their fault, but the issue with trying to thread a 20" or an 18" pipe into a 21" riser at this point is the risk of breakage. That riser pipe is far more fragile now than it was last month when the blow out happened. I'm with you though; I'd love to see them making a more "heroic" effort here
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Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
#401 ooooooh. Glad there's folks out there like you that do read the fine print.
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Quoting CycloneOz:


I miss Florida. I miss having a tan. :(


It's here whenever you wanna move back!
Check your private email...
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Quoting CycloneOz:


OMG...LOL!!! ROFLMAO!

You are dead on right, Flood.


I'm simply speaking from experience...LOL...the weathering is bad, but the debris strikes are on a guy...
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There still appears to be a good deal of consensus in the models for both features...Haiti is in for a rough couple of days
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Quoting CycloneOz:


Hahahaha...I know...

PUT A SHIRT ON! LOL!!!


Good natured ribbing, you know the drill!
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Quoting hurricanejunky:


You were handsome? ;)


Apparently what you see now is the result of weathering and debris strike...LOL
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Karolina's down to Jax looks wet..
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Quoting CycloneOz:


I'm biased...you decide for yourself. :)



I've seen that one before. No comment...LOL!
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You can add the ECMWF...the UKMET is somewhere in there. The poor thing only goes out 3 days.

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Tropical Tidbit for Thursday, May 20th
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
read da fine print,..

Ahem..


BP is using two different types of Corexit dispersants. What's the difference? What can you tell us about about the ingredients or chemical composition of these products?
BP is using Corexit 9500A and 9527A. These dispersants perform the same function, but have different formulations. EPA posts information about all authorized dispersants on our National Contingency Plan (NCP) Product Schedule website.

All the information EPA can make public about these dispersants can be found on the Product Schedule.
You may notice that some of the ingredients are confidential. This is because the manufacturer has chosen to keep this information proprietary, and as a result EPA is obligated by law to protect this information. However, NALCO, the manufacturer of Corexit products can choose to make this information available.

Top of page
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Quoting Levi32:
850mb vorticity continues to increase by the hour with the low ENE of Nassau in the Bahamas. The low off the Yucatan is also generating impressive spin.



There is a double-vort max at 700mb as there is another disturbance in the mid-upper air flow to the northeast of the surface low. This shortwave will have to figure out its own life over the next couple days. They should eventually merge, but it will take a while to focus all the energy and get a feedback going. After all this low is not yet being driven by tropical processes so we can't expect it to consolidate right now. Baroclinic lows do not do that.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
So it don't matter who makes it as long as it meets the guidelines, right?
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Quoting Levi32:
850mb vorticity continues to increase by the hour with the low ENE of Nassau in the Bahamas. The low off the Yucatan is also generating impressive spin.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
How will the government ensure the protection of the environment when dispersants are used?


The authorization given to BP to use dispersants on oil stemming from the BP Oil Spill included specific conditions to ensure the protection of the environment and the health of residents in the affected areas. BP, through the Unified Command, continues to monitor the environment for effects of dispersant use. In addition, EPA is collecting air and water quality data daily.

Under the Oil Pollution Act, state, Tribal and federal Natural Resource Trustee agencies are responsible for assessing the injury, loss or destruction of natural resources due to spills. The trustees will also assess any lost human uses of these resources, for example, fishing, hunting, and beach recreational closures. The trustees are also assessing the efficacy of evaluating impacts from the response, including burning, and surface and sub surface dispersant use.
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Quoting Levi32:
850mb vorticity continues to increase by the hour with the low ENE of Nassau in the Bahamas. The low off the Yucatan is also generating impressive spin.





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Quoting CycloneOz:


Your man is brilliant!

Reminds me of myself when I was younger and more handsome! :)


You were handsome? ;)
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Quoting TampaSpin:
As i have been telling you all IN MY OPIONON only but, this years Tropical season will not be as busy as the upcoming next 2 seasons!


And I'll still be here.. watching.
If the next 2 are more active than this season might be.. the next two will be worse than 2005.
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Are any human health effects expected as a result of using the dispersants?
People working with dispersants are strongly advised to use a half face filter mask or an air-supplied breathing apparatus to protect their noses, throats, and lungs, and they should wear nitrile or PVC gloves, coveralls, boots, and chemical splash goggles to keep dispersants off skin and out of their eyes. CDC provides more information on reducing occupational exposures while working with dispersants during the Gulf Oil Spill Response


The Shrimps get Lil Biddy suits I assume...?
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Quoting TampaSpin:


LOL......I SAID IT WAS JUST MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION! Now i have to prove an opinion.....gonna be a long year as i can see we have to prove every opinion.


But adds to meaningful discussions when we present valid arguments to defend our points.
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That and the conditions that normally prevail to give the Atlantic an above-average season, tend to give the EPAC and WPAC a near or below-average season

Lets face it a good majority of those Global Hurricane days are due to the WPAC having active seasons. If you go back and look at the seasons the WPAC has been most active and match it up with that graph, you would be surprised how similar they would look
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
850mb vorticity continues to increase by the hour with the low ENE of Nassau in the Bahamas. The low off the Yucatan is also generating impressive spin.

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Quoting CycloneOz:


This is the thing I do not get. In an era where we have attachments for literally EVERYTHING...

You mean to tell me that we cannot design an attachment to that 4" pipe...that when inserted into the larger pipe, expands to fill the larger pipe and then sealant is pumped out of the sides of the attachment to completely shut down the leak?

Man...I just do not get it. Where are the A-gamers in this mess?


Especially since they have billions backing them. This is the best we can get? Heck, your bluetooth setup is better than the solutions these jokers have come up with...
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Aquatic toxicity of two Corexit® dispersants
Purchase the full-text article






References and further reading may be available for this article. To view references and further reading you must purchase this article.

A. George-Ares1, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author and J. R. Clark

Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc., 1545 Route 22 East, Annandale, NJ 08801-0971, USA
Received 13 October 1998;
accepted 26 August 1999. ;
Available online 2 February 2000.

Abstract

The oil spill dispersants, Corexit® 9500 and Corexit® 9527 have low to moderate toxicity to most aquatic species in laboratory tests. Toxicity estimates are significantly affected by test variables such as species, lifestage, exposure duration, and temperature. Aquatic toxicity data generated from spiked, declining exposures (107 min half-life) are more reflective of actual dispersant use conditions. Decisions to use oil spill response chemicals should not be based solely on aquatic toxicity. Factors to consider include product effectiveness, toxicity of dispersed oil, species/habitats requiring priority protection, and recovery potential of sensitive habitats and populations. An environmental risk assessment approach is recommended where dispersant toxicity data generated under environmentally relevant exposures are compared to estimated environmental concentrations of dispersants.
Article Outline

1. Introduction
2. Materials and methods
3. Results
4. Discussion

4.1. Species variation
4.2. Lifestage variation
4.3. Temperature and salinity variation
4.4. Exposure duration variation
4.5. Field dispersant concentrations
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Quoting TampaSpin:


LOL......I SAID IT WAS JUST MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION! Now i have to prove an opinion.....gonna be a long year as i can see we have to prove every opinion.


ok
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2006 was the peak year, 2005 was a year of high increase, the Atlantic had much to do with that increase

but the graph doesn't really prove why the next 2 seasons would be more active than this one
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Quoting Weather456:


What correlation is there between global TC days and Atlantic hurricanes?

In that graphic look at 1991-1994, some of the quietest years in the Atlantic yet global numbers were up.

Global TC numbers in 2005 were lower than 1997 yet 2005 had near 4 times the storm of 1997.

I mean just because the rest of the world is quiet does not translate to activity here in the Atlantic.


LOL......I SAID IT WAS JUST MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION! Now i have to prove an opinion.....gonna be a long year as i can see we have to prove every opinion.
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How do dispersants work under the water?

The use of the dispersant at the source of the leak represents a novel approach to addressing the significant environmental threat posed by the spill. Preliminary testing results indicate that subsea use of the dispersant is effective at reducing the amount of oil reaching the surface – and can do so with the use of less dispersant than is needed when the oil does reach the surface. This is an important step to reduce the potential for damage from oil reaching fragile wetlands and coastal areas. While BP pursues the use of subsea dispersants, the federal government will require regular analysis of its effectiveness and impact on the environment, water and air quality, and human health through a rigorous monitoring program. EPA's directive to BP, including the monitoring plan the company must adhere to in order to ensure the protection of the environment and public health, is available on this page. We reserve the right to discontinue the use of this dispersant method if any negative impacts on the environment outweigh the benefits.
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While EPA has not yet identified any significant effects on aquatic life, EPA today also directed BP to begin using, within 72 hours, a less toxic and more effective dispersant.

One, I would assume, that isn't manufactured by a company that is, in fact, a de facto subsidiary of BP?
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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