Improving a prediction system for oil spills in the Yellow Sea: effect of tides on subtidal flow

Chang-Sin Kim, Yang-Ki Cho, Byoung-Ju Choi, Kyung Tae Jung, Sung Hyup You
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2013 March 15, 68 (1): 85-92
A multi-nested prediction system for the Yellow Sea using drifter trajectory simulations was developed to predict the movements of an oil spill after the MV Hebei Spirit accident. The speeds of the oil spill trajectories predicted by the model without tidal forcing were substantially faster than the observations; however, predictions taking into account the tides, including both tidal cycle and subtidal periods, were satisfactorily improved. Subtidal flow in the simulation without tides was stronger than in that with tides because of reduced frictional effects. Friction induced by tidal stress decelerated the southward subtidal flows driven by northwesterly winter winds along the Korean coast of the Yellow Sea. These results strongly suggest that in order to produce accurate predictions of oil spill trajectories, simulations must include tidal effects, such as variations within a tidal cycle and advections over longer time scales in tide-dominated areas.

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