Oil Spill Modeling for Improved Response to Arctic Maritime Spills: The Path Forward
University of New Hampshire
The objective of this project is to identify the current state-of-the-art Arctic maritime oil spill response modeling, potential integration of these models, and specifics needs to be addressed to obtain models that will be functional and effective in the response time scale to advance the Federal On-Scene Coordinator’s decision making during an incident. This will be accomplished through an Arctic Maritime Spill Response Modeling workshop focused on goals to provide pathways towards a useful oil spill response model that will inform decision-makers during spills.
This project provides a structured approach to solicit expert advice to develop such a strategy as driven by USCG FOSC core needs in an Arctic oil spill response. The project commenced with forming a project “Core Team” (membership consists of ADAC center representative, University of New Hampshire Coastal Response Research Center, Center for Spills in the Environment, Headquarters USCG Maritime Environmental Response (HQ USCG MER), USCG Pacific Area (PACAREA) USCG District 17 (USCG D17), Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) and NOAA ORR). This core team developed a list of needs/questions that Arctic response models should address. These serve as guideposts to focus all of the project’s efforts. The team has conducted a major workshop and established 4 expert post-workshop working Groups to produce stakeholder consensus on approaches to Arctic response modeling that yield more accurate results with clear uncertainty bounds in response timeframes. A final workshop planned will synthesize the working groups to create a final knowledge product which recommends what new components/sub-models in characterizing an Arctic maritime oil spill should be developed and validated and how best to coordinate further modeling efforts to aid a government-led response in an Arctic maritime environment.