Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 449–460 | Cite as

Towards the development of an operational tool for oil spills management in the Algarve coast

  • João Janeiro
  • Flávio Martins
  • Paulo Relvas


Portugal is strongly vulnerable to sea hazards due to intense vessel traffic and sea conditions. The southwest region off the Iberian Peninsula lies in the main route from the Mediterranean and Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Europe, causing a ship concentration in a narrow band off Cape São Vicente. Tankers represent a significant part of the vessel traffic and the occurrence of oil spills cannot be disregarded. Cape São Vicente region is part of a Natural Park with 110 Km of coastline, integrated in the European Natura 2000 network and its socio-economic context is closely related with sea resources exploitation, particularly fishing and tourism. Recognizing the importance of accurate information systems for the decision making process in an oil spill situation, this work presents the development of an integrated tool to support the process in the Algarve coast. The system relies in a regional operational mathematical model based on the MOHID modelling system. The system core is composed by three models (3D hydrodynamics, wave and Lagrangian transport) all linked in the same system and exchanging information in real time. Oil advection and weathering processes are coupled to the Lagragian transport model. The overall operational system includes external operational data products as inputs, to ensure a successful validation of the results. The system is linked to stakeholders and response authorities using a geographic referenced database based on Mapserver technology that will include relevant information for oil spill management.


Oil spills Emergency response Operational modelling Decision-making tool 



This work is being funded by a Doctoral grant, reference SFRH/BD/44850/2008, from the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia to whom we would like to thank. A special thank to Dr. Francisco Silva and Dr. João Vitorino from Instituto Hidrográfico.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIMA)Universidade do Algarve, ISEFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIMA), Universidade do Algarve, FCTFaroPortugal

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