Oil Spill Trajectory Modelling in Ice

Scope of Work

The Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre (NERSC), Bergen, Norway was the contractor for the initial phase of this project.  Phase 1 is complete and the final report “Sea Ice Model Developments in View of Oil Spill Forecasting” is available on the JIP website.

Key achievements are:

  • The project’s aims of developing new sea ice modelling approaches; evaluating both new and existing models and analysing potential errors and uncertainties in the new and existing models was met. A Discrete Element (DE) model for the marginal ice zone (MIZ) and a continuous model using an Elasto-Brittle (EB) rheology for the pack ice were developed.
  • The project has worked on what could become the foundations of a comprehensive oil spill trajectory in ice prediction system.
  • The work conducted in this project serves to enhance our understanding of the physics involved in sea ice drift. It improves the models currently used to simulate the sea ice drift, and has delivered higher resolution data representing the best available reproduction of sea ice drift and ocean state in the Arctic to be used for oil spill trajectory modelling.
  • Substantial progress has been made with respect to the development of dynamic sea ice models.

The phase 2 contractors, RPS-ASA, and SINTEF are currently working to integrate the results from the NERSC ice modelling into their established oil spill trajectory fate and effects models (e.g., OilMap and OSCAR). Both contractors will demonstrate the capability of their oil trajectory and fate models to simulate oil spills in ice-infested Arctic waters, validate their oil spill model results with drifter and other in situ data, and evaluate the changes in oil spill fate and predicted impacts resulting from use of the updated ice model inputs and algorithm changes. Phase 2 brings the results one step closer to operationalization by testing the integration with existing spill models, stimulating competition by linking the ice model with both SINTEF and RPS-ASA, and generating wider public acceptance by publishing the results.