MEDSLIK-II, a Lagrangian marine surface oil spill model for short-term forecasting – Part 1: Theory
- 1Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Bologna, Italy
- 2Corso di Scienze Ambientali, University of Bologna, Ravenna, Italy
- 3Oceanography Centre, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
Abstract. The processes of transport, diffusion and transformation of surface oil in seawater can be simulated using a Lagrangian model formalism coupled with Eulerian circulation models. This paper describes the formalism and the conceptual assumptions of a Lagrangian marine surface oil slick numerical model and rewrites the constitutive equations in a modern mathematical framework. The Lagrangian numerical representation of the oil slick requires three different state variables: the slick, the particle and the structural state variables. Transformation processes (evaporation, spreading, dispersion and coastal adhesion) act on the slick state variables, while particle variables are used to model the transport and diffusion processes. The slick and particle variables are recombined together to compute the oil concentration in water, a structural state variable. The mathematical and numerical formulation of oil transport, diffusion and transformation processes described in this paper, together with the many simplifying hypothesis and parameterizations, form the basis of a new, open source Lagrangian surface oil spill model, the so-called MEDSLIK-II, based on its precursor MEDSLIK (Lardner et al., 1998, 2006; Zodiatis et al., 2008a). Part 2 of this paper describes the applications of the model to oil spill simulations that allow the validation of the model results and the study of the sensitivity of the simulated oil slick to different model numerical parameterizations.