Modeling fates and impacts of hypothetical oil spills in Delaware, Florida, Texas, California and Alaska waters, varying response options including use of dispersants
McCay, DF; Whittier, N; Dalton, C; Rowe, J; Sankaranarayanan, S; Aurand, D
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Oil spill response may include use of chemical dispersants and in situ burning equipment, in addition to traditional mechanical response equipment. To evaluate the potential impacts of various response strategies, oil spill and atmospheric plume modeling were performed to evaluate areas of the atmosphere at sea level, water areas, shoreline lengths, sediment areas, and water volumes impacted above thresholds of concern to biological species and habitats, human health and socioeconomic resources. For the oil spill modeling, a stochastic approach was used to allow the range and frequency of possible environmental conditions to be examined for each spill site, spill volume and response option evaluated. Long term (decade or more) wind and current records were sampled at random and model runs were performed for each of the spill dates-times selected. This provides a statistical description of the environmental fate and impacts that would result if a spill occurred. Stochastic modeling was performed in five representative locations in the US: (1) offshore of Delaware Bay, (2) offshore of Galveston Bay, (3) offshore of San Francisco Bay, (4) Prince William Sound, and (5) offshore of the Florida Keys. These data were used to evaluate potential impacts of changes in response strategies, i.e., combining use of dispersants and in situ burning with traditional mechanical recovery. The results of the oil spill modeling for the Florida Straits location are summarized herein.