Analysis of the reliability of a statistical oil spill response model

Ana J Abascal, Sonia Castanedo, Raul Medina, Maria Liste
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2010, 60 (11): 2099-110
A statistical oil spill response model is developed and validated by means of actual oil slick observations reported during the Prestige accident and trajectories of drifter buoys. The model is based on the analysis of a database of hypothetical oil spill scenarios simulated by means of a Lagrangian transport model. To carry out the simulations, a re-analysis database consisting of 44-year hindcast dataset of wind and waves and climatologic daily mean surface currents is used. The number of scenarios required to obtain statistically reliable results is investigated, finding that 200 scenarios provide an optimal balance between the accuracy of the results and the computational effort. The reliability of the model was analyzed by comparing the actual data with the numerical results. The agreement found between actual and numerical data shows that the developed statistical oil spill model is a valuable tool to support spill response planning.

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