3d Operational Hydrodinamic Modelling System as a Support to Oil Spill Responses in the Ligurian Sea (North-Western Mediterranean)

Friday, 19 December 2014
Tania Del Giudice1, Mauro Quagliati1, Rosella Bertolotto1, Andrea Pedroncini2 and Luis Alberto Cusati2, (1)ARPAL, GENOA, Italy, (2)DHI Italia, GENOA, Italy
Accidental oil spills have a significant impact on marine ecosystems reminding us the importance of an efficiency emergency planning to ensure a quick and proper response. In this phase, the numerical modelling approach emerges as a useful tool in order to simulate the scenarios and addresses the issue of oil dispersion in the case of a spill. The 3D operational hydrodynamic modelling system of the Ligurian Sea (North-Western Mediterranean) is used as a base to predict the possible oil trajectory and to track the path and fate of spilled oil under the prevailing hydrodynamic and meteorological conditions. The operative chain of the hydrodynamic model was developed by DHI Italia for the Regional Environment Protection Agency (ARPAL) operating in the Ligurian region (Italy) with the objective to preserve the environment, support the activities of the Civil Protection Department and promote a sustainable, healthy and safety management of the local resources. In this chain the MFS Mediterranean 3D model (operated within MyOcean EU Project – Copernicus Programme) was downscaled from 6.5 km to finer nearshore mesh (500 m). The increased spatial resolution allows the correct simulation of current developments in the vicinity of morphological discontinuities such as the promontory of Portofino on the Ligurian coast. The meteorological forcing is provided by MOLOCH, a LAM model operated by ARPAL together with fresh water discharges from the main rivers through hydrological modelling. Since the Ligurian Sea recently hosted the transfer of wreck Costa Concordia some real time simulations of hypothetical oil spill were performed to support the crisis unit of the Genoa Coast Guard. Simulations led to interesting results concerning the importance of updated weather conditions, which strongly influence current trends, focusing on the importance of the continuity of the modelling chain.