Wave-Driven Transport of Surface Oil

Rodney J. Sobey, Christopher H. Barker


The potential of surface gravity waves to transport a surface oil spill in coastal waters is investigated. A small wave- averaged surface current, directed with the waves toward the shore, is demonstrated. Wave-driven transport provides a natural mechanism for damaging beaching of surface oil. Theoretical predictions of wave-averaged surface drift are established from nonlinear steady wave theory, and an adaption to real sea states in nearshore regions is suggested. Coupled Eulerian transport and spectral wave models provide illustrations of spill response scenarios in the nearshore wave environment.


Surface oil spill; coastal currents; Eulerian transport; nearshore waves; coastal pollution

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