Simulation of the oil spill processes in the Sea of Japan with regional ocean circulation model
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A simulation of the movement of spilled oil after the incident of the Russian tanker Nakhodka in the Sea of Japan, in January 1997, was performed by a particle tracking model incorporating advection by currents, random diffusion, the buoyancy effect, the parameterization of oil evaporation, biodegradation, and beaching. The currents advecting spilled oil were defined by surface wind drift superposed on the three-dimensional ocean currents obtained by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory modular ocean model (GFDL MOM), which was forced by the climatological monthly mean meteorological data, or by the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) daily meteorological data, and assimilated sea surface topography detected by satellite altimeter. A number of experiments with different parameters and situations showed that the wide geographical spread of oil observed is not explained by wind drift alone, and that including the simulated climatological currents gives better results. The combination of surface wind drift and daily ocean currents shows the best agreement between the model and observations except in some coastal areas. The daily meteorological effect on the ocean circulation model results in a stronger variability of currents that closely simulates some features of the nonlinear large-scale horizontal turbulent diffusion of oil. The effect of different parameterizations for the size distribution of model oil particles is discussed.
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