Determination of initial volume of spilled oil is a major problem during oil spills. The amount of spilled oil is extremely important for response and legal aspects of the event. Several methods have been developed to estimate and determine volume of spilled oils on water surfaces. These methods are based on determining thickness of oil on water surface by using visual observations or measurement techniques. It is of course aerial pictures of the spill that will determine the spreading area. The spreading area and thickness of oil result in the volume of the spilled oil. These methods are not successful enough or in an acceptable error range for many oil spill cases.
In this paper, a methodology, which was developed as a result of actual oil spill experiments in the Arabian Gulf, will be presented. In these experiments, various types of oil, wind, sea and weather temperature, oil properties and other dominant factors were considered. Elliptic, circular and random behaviors of spreading of oils were observed and a model for oil’s distribution on water surfaces were approximated within acceptable error ranges. Based on these studies, an algorithm and model were developed by using optimization techniques and related software was prepared. The software, which can estimate the volume of the spilled oil, its use and inputs, examples and results will be presented and discussed in the paper. The inputs of the software are spreading area and shape of the oil on the water surface, various meteorological and oceanographic conditions of the event. The method is designed for determining initial volume of stray oil spills observed on water surfaces, and not for continuous spills.
|Keywords:||Oil Spills in the Sea, Volume Determination, Oil Pollution|
Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Prince Mohammed bin Fahd University, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
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