Ocean Circulation Lab
USF College of Marine Science

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill trajectory ensemble forecast from different numerical models

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This is a joint effort of the Ocean Circulation Group and the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at College of Marine Science, University of South Florida to track/predict the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico using simulated drifters/particles. Drifter trajectories were calculated based on the surface currents from four different numerical ocean circulation models: the West Florida Shelf ROMS hindcast/forecast system from University of South Florida, the Navy Gulf of Mexico HYCOM nowcast/forecast system, the SABGOM nowcast/forecast system from North Carolina State University, and the Global HYCOM + NCODA Analysis from the HYCOM Consortium. Different models are updated at different time, and their temporal and spatial resolutions also vary. More specific information may be available from the models' original wesites. It must be recognized that all forecast models have errors that grow with time for a variety of reasons. This is one reason why it is important to consider comparative analyses from several different models. Virtual particles were released from the sunken rig site every three hours, assuming continuous oil spill from the well. The initial locations of the drifters were inferred from the latest satellite remotely sensed oil slick patches. Macondo well is designated by the red circle. The particles (difters) are shown as black dots, and their trajectries in magenta. Sea surface temperature (color contours, units in deg C) was superimposed with the surface current vectors to indicate the surface ocean circulation. The velocity data were subsampled every the third grid points in both east and north directions for better visulization. Questions or comments, please contact Prof. Robert H. Weisberg or Dr. Yonggang Liu.


The nowcast/forecast system and other analyses/data are research products under development. No warranty is made, expressed or implied, regarding accuracy, or regarding the suitability for any particular application. All rights reserved University of South Florida. Copyright University of South Florida 05/06/2010.

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