TURBULENT DIFFUSION OF OIL IN THE OCEAN

Observations of oil-slick geometry and current speed from a continuously emitting source have permitted a comparative evaluation of the role of large-scale turbulence and effects of surface tension in controlling the spreading of oil on an ocean surface. The approximate size and shape of a given oil slick are shown to be predictable, utilizing Fickian diffusion theory, from knowledge of the surface current speed, horizontal eddy diffusivity, and rate of oil discharge. The effect of surface tension seems to be confined to the first few hundred meters downslick and can probably be ignored for practical purposes under moderate oil discharge and with current speeds as low as 5 cm/sec. The use of the model presented here would aid in assessing the general geometry and speed of an oil slick and eliminate the need for large amounts of input data and expensive continuous aerial reconnaissance. (Author)

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Availability: Pub. in Limnology and Oceanography, v17 n5 p651-660 Sep 72.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

    Center for Wetlands Resources
    Baton Rouge, LA  USA  70803
  • Authors:
    • Murray, S P
  • Publication Date: 1972

Media Info

  • Pagination: 14 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00046588
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TR-140 Tech Rpt
  • Contract Numbers: N00014-69-A-0211-000
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 31 1973 12:00AM