Three-dimensional numerical simulation for transport of oil spills in seas

S. Wang, Y. M. Shen, Yakun Guo, J. Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


This study extends previous two-dimensional research [Wang, S.D., Shen, Y.M., Zheng, Y.H., 2005. Two-dimensional numerical simulation for transport and fate of oil spills in seas. Ocean Engineering 32, 1556–1571] to three dimensions in order to investigate the vertical dispersion/motion of the spilled oil slick, which is a more realistic model of the motion of the spilled oil. To this end, a three-dimensional (3-D) model, based on the particle approach, is developed for simulating oil spill transport and fate in seas. The amount of oil released at sea is distributed among a large number of particles tracked individually. These particles are driven by a combination of water current, wave- and wind-induced speed and move in a 3-D space. Horizontal and vertical diffusion are taken into account using a random walk technique. The model simulates the most significant processes which affect the motion of oil particles, such as advection, surface spreading, evaporation, dissolution, emulsification, turbulent diffusion, the interaction of the oil particles with the shoreline, sedimentation and the temporal variations of oil viscosity, density and surface tension. In addition, the processes of hydrolysis, photo-oxidation and biodegradation are also considered in this model. T
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-510
Number of pages8
JournalOcean Engineering
Issue number5-6
Early online date15 Dec 2007
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • oil spills
  • oil particles
  • 3-D
  • transportation
  • transformation
  • weathering
  • The Princeton Ocean Model (POM)


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