24
Sat, Feb

Sanchi Oil Spill Contamination Could Take Three Months to Reach Mainland

Typography

Water contaminated by the oil currently leaking into the ocean from the Sanchi tanker collision is likely to take at least three months to reach land, and if it does the Korean coast is the most likely location. However, the oil’s fate is highly uncertain, as it may burn, evaporate, or mix into the surface ocean and contaminate the environment for an extended duration.

Water contaminated by the oil currently leaking into the ocean from the Sanchi tanker collision is likely to take at least three months to reach land, and if it does the Korean coast is the most likely location. However, the oil’s fate is highly uncertain, as it may burn, evaporate, or mix into the surface ocean and contaminate the environment for an extended duration.

This is according to emergency ocean model simulations run by scientists at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and The University of Southampton to assess the potential impact of local ocean circulation on the spread of pollutants. These simulations were run using the leading-edge, high-resolution global ocean circulation model, NEMO.

The Sanchi tanker collision occurred on the border between the Yellow and East China seas, an area with complex, strong and highly variable surface currents.

Leading this research, Dr Katya Popova, from the National Oceanography Centre, said “Oil spills can have a devastating effect on the marine environment and on coastal communities. Strong ocean currents mean that, once released into the ocean, an oil spill can relatively rapidly spread over large distances. So understanding ocean currents and the timescale on which they transport ocean pollutants is critical during any maritime accidents, especially ones involving oil leaks.”

Read more at National Oceanography Centre (NOC)

Image: This figure shows the trajectories of all virtual oil particles across all release scenarios. The colours indicate where particles have reached after specific periods of time, from deep red for the first 10 days after release to magenta for the period 90-100 days. Within the 100 day period sampled, most particles remain within the Yellow and East China seas, but some particles can be seen skirting the coast of South Korea and entering the Japan Sea. The land mask colours indicate human habitation, with lighter colours marking areas with high population density. (Credit: Image courtesy of National Oceanography Centre (NOC))