Submitted as: model description paper
27 Oct 2022
Submitted as: model description paper | 27 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

ChemicalDrift 1.0: an open-source Lagrangian chemical fate and transport model for organic aquatic pollutants

Manuel Aghito1,4, Loris Calgaro2, Knut-Frode Dagestad1, Christian Ferrarin3, Antonio Marcomini2, Øyvind Breivik1,4, and Lars Robert Hole1 Manuel Aghito et al.
  • 1The Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Bergen, Norway
  • 2Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, University Ca’ Foscari of Venice, Venice, Italy
  • 3CNR - National Research Council of Italy, ISMAR - Institute of Marine Sciences, Venice, Italy
  • 4University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

Abstract. A new model for transport and fate of chemicals in the aquatic environment is presented. The tool, named ChemicalDrift, is integrated in the open-source Lagrangian framework OpenDrift, and is hereby presented for organic compounds. The supported chemical processes include the degradation, the volatilization, and the partitioning between the different phases that a target chemical can be associated to in the aquatic environment, e.g. dissolved, bound to suspended particles, or deposited to the seabed sediments. The dependencies of the chemical processes on changes of temperature, salinity, and particle concentration, are formulated and implemented. The chemical fate modelling is combined with wide support for hydrodynamics by the integration within the Lagrangian framework which provides, e.g., advection by ocean currents, diffusion, wind induced turbulent mixing, and Stokes drift generated by waves. A powerful interface to a wide range of available metocean data is made available by the integration, making the tool flexible and adaptable to different spatio-temporal scales and fit for modelling of complex coastal regions. Further inherent capabilities of the Lagrangian approach include the seamless tracking and separation of multiple sources as, e.g., pollutants emitted from ships or from rivers or water treatment plants. Specific interfaces to a dataset produced by a model of emissions from shipping, and to an unstructured-grid oceanographic model of the Adriatic Sea, are provided. The model includes a database of chemical parameters for a set of poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, and a database of emission factors for different chemicals found in discharged waters from sulphur emission abatements systems in marine vessels. A post-processing tool for generating mean concentrations of a target chemical, over customizable spatio-temporal grids, is provided. Model development and functional testing are presented, while tuning of parameters, validation, and reporting of numerical results, are planned as future activities. The ChemicalDrift model flexibility, functionalities, and potential, are demonstrated through a selection of examples, introducing the model as a valuable tool for chemical fate and transport, that can be applied to assessment of the risks of contamination by organic pollutants in the aquatic environment.

Manuel Aghito et al.

Status: open (until 22 Dec 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • AC1: 'Comment on gmd-2022-212', Manuel Aghito, 14 Nov 2022 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on gmd-2022-212', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Nov 2022 reply
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Manuel Aghito, 01 Dec 2022 reply
  • AC3: 'Code and Data gmd-2022-212', Manuel Aghito, 01 Dec 2022 reply

Manuel Aghito et al.

Manuel Aghito et al.


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Short summary
The newly developed ChemicalDrift model can simulate the transport and fate of chemicals in the ocean and in coastal regions. The model combines ocean physics, including transport due to currents, turbulence due to surface winds, and the sinking of particles to the sea floor, with ocean chemistry, such as the partitioning, the degradation, and the evaporation of chemicals. The model will be utilized for risk-assessment of ocean and sea floor contamination from pollutants emitted from shipping.