Increased dispersion of oil from a deep water seabed release by energetic mesoscale eddies

Gilchrist, Ryan M., Hall, Rob A., Bacon, John C., Rees, Jon M. and Graham, Jennifer A. (2020) Increased dispersion of oil from a deep water seabed release by energetic mesoscale eddies. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 156. ISSN 0025-326X

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Abstract

Hydrodynamics play a critical role in determining the trajectory of an oil spill. Currents, stratification and mesoscale processes all contribute to how a spill behaves. Using an industry‑leading oil spill model, we compare forecasts of oil dispersion when forced with two different hydrodynamic models of the North-West European Shelf (7 km and 1.5 km horizontal resolution). This demonstrates how the trajectory of a deep water (>1000 m) release in the central Faroe-Shetland Channel is influenced by explicitly resolving mesoscale processes. The finer resolution hydrodynamic model dramatically enhances the horizontal dispersion of oil and transports pollutant further afield. This is a consequence of higher mesoscale variability. Stratification influences the depth of subsurface plume trapping and subsequently the far-field transport of oil. These results demonstrate that the choice of hydrodynamic model resolution is crucial when designing particle tracking or tracer release experiments.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 14 May 2020 00:07
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2020 00:02
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/75141
DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111258

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