A high-resolution real-time forecasting system for predicting the fate of oil spills in the Strait of Bonifacio (western Mediterranean Sea)

A Cucco, M Sinerchia, A Ribotti, A Olita, L Fazioli, A Perilli, B Sorgente, M Borghini, K Schroeder, R Sorgente
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2012, 64 (6): 1186-200
The Strait of Bonifacio is a long and narrow area between Corsica and Sardinia. To manage environmental emergencies related to the spill of oil from vessels, an innovative forecasting system was developed. This tool is capable of operationally predicting the dispersion of hydrocarbon spills in the coastal area of the Bonifacio Strait, either from an instantaneous or continuous spill and either in forward or backward mode. Experimental datasets, including ADCP water current measurements and the trajectories of drifter buoys released in the area, were used to evaluate the accuracy of this system. A comparison between the simulation results and experimental data revealed that both the water circulation and the surface transport processes are accurately reproduced by the model. The overall accuracy of the system in reproducing the transport of an oil spill at sea was estimated for both forward and backward prediction mode and in relation to different forecasting time lags.

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