Authors: Rafael Meza-Padilla, Cecilia Enriquez, Christian M. Appendini


The Rapid Oil Spill Hazard Assessment is presented as a demonstration of concept for a tool providing a framework for managers and planners to assess potential impact areas of oil spills. The tool consists of precomputed oil spill scenarios derived from the analysis of twenty years of modeled current data using Self-Organizing Maps to identify 16 representative patterns. These patterns were used to provide boundary conditions for hydrodynamic and wave models to generate higher resolution current fields, used to drive a Lagrangian oil particle transport model creating the most probable oil spill dispersion patterns. To demonstrate the concept, the tool is applied to the Perdido region in the western Gulf of Mexico. A total of 896 oil spill simulations were performed, considering surface and bottom spills, and were stored in a database for easy access to map arrival probabilities and times to be used in risk and vulnerability analysis.

Keywords: Oil spill; Rapid risk assessment; 3D modeling; Currents; Gulf of Mexico; Loop current eddies