Challenges with Oil Spills
Offshore energy activities pose considerable risk to the environment as demonstrated by Deepwater Horizon and Exxon-Valdez oil spills. These spills can kill marine mammals and fish and contaminate their food supply for extended periods of time. Determining the transport and fate of spilled oil, and assessing the environmental impacts that might occur because of a spill is a pressing need.
Solutions Provided by EEMS
The EFDC+ oil spill sub-model allows you to calculate spill trajectories, oil thickness, volume and simulate biodegradation of oil in the model domain using Lagrangian particle routines. EEMS also provides visualization options for individual particles by time, depth or elevation, as well as to define the length of time for the path history.
Multiple groups of oil can be created and tracked to support simulation of a variety of spill scenarios. These simulations can be used in studies for environmental impact statements and endangered species consultations. Furthermore, oil industry specialists can use the results of EFDC modeling to develop oil spill response plans.
Examples of Studies Done with EEMS
Kodiak Oil Spill Model
A 3D hydrodynamic model of Chiniak Bay/St Paul’s Harbor near Kodiak, Alaska was used to simulate a hypothetical oil spill. EFDC_Explorer Modeling System was used with the oil spill sub-model which employs Lagrangian Particle tracking.
The model was configured with simultaneous release of particles at two locations in the bay. The bay hydrodynamics are influenced by tidal action and variable winds.
Tae-Ho Kim et. al. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of the wind drift factor under strong tidal conditions in the western coastal area of Korea on the movement of oil slicks caused by the Hebei Spirit oil spill accident in 2007. The movement of oil slicks was computed using a simple simulation model based on the empirical formula as a function of surface current, wind speed, and the wind drift factor. For the simulation, the Environmental Fluid Dynamics Code (EFDC) model and Automatic Weather System (AWS) were used to generate tidal and wind fields respectively. Simulation results were then compared with 5 sets of spaceborne optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data.
Download Example EE Models
Download an example model and run with the free EEMS Demo Version.