Modeling an Oil Spill along the Southern Brazilian Shelf: Forcing Characterization and Its Influence on the Oil Fate

Stringari, Caio Eadi; Marques, Wiliam Correa; Eidt, Renata Tatsch; Mello, Leonardo Fagundes de


Oil spills can generate multiple effects in different time scales on the marine ecosystem. The numerical modeling of these processes is an important tool with low computational cost which provides a powerful appliance to environmental agencies regarding the risk management. In this way, the objective of this work is to evaluate the influence of a number of physical forcing acting over a hypothetical oil spill along the Southern Brazilian Shelf. The numerical simulation was carried out using the ECOS model (Easy Coupling Oil System), an oil spill model developed at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande—FURG, coupled with the tridimensional hydrodynamic model TELEMAC3D (EDF, France). The hydrodynamic model provides the current velocity, salinity and temperature fields used by the oil spill model to evaluate the behavior and the fate of the spilled oil. The results suggest that the local wind influence is the main forcing driven the fate of the spilled oil, and this forcing responds for more than 60% of the oil slick variability. The direction and intensity of the costal currents control between 20% and 40% of the oil variability, and the currents are important controlling the behavior and the tridimensional transportation of the oil. On the other hand, the turbulent diffusion is important for the horizontal drift of the oil. The weathering results indicate 40% of evaporation and 80% of emulsification, and the combination of these processes leads an increasing of the oil density around, 53.4 kg/m³ after 5 days of simulation.

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