Multimedia fate modeling of oil spills in ice-infested waters: An exploration of the feasibility of fugacity-based approach

Ming Yang*, Faisal Khan, Vikram Garaniya, Shuhong Chai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing demand for energy and the high probability of finding vast reserves have shifted offshore exploration and production activity into colder and harsher environments. Offshore activity increases risk of oil spills in these colder and harsher marine environments. The development of a spill contingency plan requires the prediction of fate and transport of oil. Oil spill trajectory and fate modeling in cold marine environments is an exceedingly complex problem, in which variability of physical environment and oil-ice interactions must be addressed. This paper explores the usefulness of the fugacity approach for spill fate and transport modeling in ice-infested waters through a simulation model that combines surface oil weathering algorithms with Level IV fugacity models. Four bulk compartments are used for modeling: air, ice cover, water and sediment. Weathering of surface oil on and under the ice cover is represented by a system of differential equations. Unsteady state mass balance equations are also developed for each of the four bulk phases. The outputs of the multimedia fate model are time-dependent profiles of oil slick area, fraction evaporated, water content in oil, viscosity, and concentration of oil in air, ice cover, water, and sediment. The application of the proposed model is illustrated through the simulation of a hypothetical oil spill in the Labrador Sea. The proposed model is simple but has the promise that it can be further developed to become directly useful to the simulation of spill behavior in ice-infested waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-217
Number of pages12
JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Arctic
  • Fate modeling
  • Fugacity
  • Harsh environment
  • Ice-infested waters
  • Marine oil spills


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