Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2018-130
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2018-130
05 Dec 2018
 | 05 Dec 2018
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal OS but the revision was not accepted.

Revisiting the DeepWater Horizon spill: High resolution model simulations of effects of oil droplet size distribution and river fronts

Lars R. Hole, Knut-Frode Dagestad, Johannes Röhrs, Cecilie Wettre, Vassiliki H. Kourafalou, Ioannis Androulidakis, Matthieu Le Hénaff, Heesook Kang, and Oscar Garcia-Pineda

Abstract. An open source ocean trajectory framework, OpenDrift, is used to simulate the 2010 DeepWater Horizon oil spill. Metocean forcing data are taken from the GoM-HYCOM 1/50° ocean model with realistic river input and ECMWF global forecasts of wind and wave parameters with 1/8° resolution. OpenDrift includes the integrated oil drift module OpenOil, which includes a number of relevant processes, such as emulsification, wave entrainment, and droplet formation. This takes account of the actual oil type/properties, using the ADIOS oil weathering database of NOAA. We investigate the effect of using a newly developed parameterization for oil droplet size distribution, compared to a traditional algorithm. Although the algorithms provide different distributions for a single wave breaking event, we find that the net difference after long time simulations is negligible, indicating that the outcome is robust regarding the choice of parameterization. In both cases, the size of the droplets controls how much oil is present at the surface and hence are subject to wind and Stokes drift. The oil droplet sizes are also relevant for the biological impact. Next, the effect of removing river outflow in the ocean model is investigated in order to showcase effects of river induced fronts on oil spreading. A consistent effect on the amount and location of stranded oil is found, and considerable impact is seen on the location of the surface oil patch.

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Lars R. Hole, Knut-Frode Dagestad, Johannes Röhrs, Cecilie Wettre, Vassiliki H. Kourafalou, Ioannis Androulidakis, Matthieu Le Hénaff, Heesook Kang, and Oscar Garcia-Pineda
 
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Status: closed
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Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Lars R. Hole, Knut-Frode Dagestad, Johannes Röhrs, Cecilie Wettre, Vassiliki H. Kourafalou, Ioannis Androulidakis, Matthieu Le Hénaff, Heesook Kang, and Oscar Garcia-Pineda
Lars R. Hole, Knut-Frode Dagestad, Johannes Röhrs, Cecilie Wettre, Vassiliki H. Kourafalou, Ioannis Androulidakis, Matthieu Le Hénaff, Heesook Kang, and Oscar Garcia-Pineda

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Short summary
This study shows how the Mississippi river influenced the spreading of oil in the Gulf of Mexico after the DeepWater Horizon disaster. High resolution numerical models for ocean and atmosphere circulation are used to force an oil drift model. The circulation is totally different when river input is removed in the ocean model. The study also showcase the importance of the choice of oil droplet size distribution. Model output is compared with satellite observation of surface oil.