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Simulating pathways of subsurface oil in the Faroe–Shetland Channel using an ocean general circulation model

Main, C.E.; Yool, A.; Holliday, N.P.; Popova, E.E.; Jones, D.O.B.; Ruhl, H.A.. 2017 Simulating pathways of subsurface oil in the Faroe–Shetland Channel using an ocean general circulation model. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 114 (1). 315-326. 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.09.041

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© 2016 Elsevier B.V. This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Marine Pollution Bulletin. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version will be published in Marine Pollution Bulletin
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Abstract/Summary

Little is known about the fate of subsurface hydrocarbon plumes from deep-sea oil well blowouts and their effects on processes and communities. As deepwater drilling expands in the Faroe–Shetland Channel (FSC), oil well blowouts are a possibility, and the unusual ocean circulation of this region presents challenges to understanding possible subsurface oil pathways in the event of a spill. Here, an ocean general circulation model was used with a particle tracking algorithm to assess temporal variability of the oil-plume distribution from a deep-sea oil well blowout in the FSC. The drift of particles was first tracked for one year following release. Then, ambient model temperatures were used to simulate temperature-mediated biodegradation, truncating the trajectories of particles accordingly. Release depth of the modeled subsurface plumes affected both their direction of transport and distance travelled from their release location, and there was considerable interannual variability in transport.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.09.041
ISSN: 0025-326X
Date made live: 28 Sep 2016 15:30 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/514647

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