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Proposal for an integrative approach to the establishment of maps of environmental vulnerability to oil: case study in Santos Bay, coast of São Paulo, Brazil

Grant number: 12/14508-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2012
Effective date (End): September 30, 2014
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Geosciences
Principal researcher:Denis Moledo de Souza Abessa
Grantee:Ágata Fernandes Romero
Home Institution: Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus Experimental do Litoral Paulista. São Vicente , SP, Brazil


The maps of environmental vulnerability to oil constitute important tools for planning response actions in case of oil spills, presenting information regarding to sensitivity and susceptibility of mapped areas to oil. However, such approach may be not enough to direct emergency actions in dynamic environments. Decision-making during the field combat is very difficult due to scarcity of time and resources; thus, managers need reliable tools to support such actions, which have to be friendly and easily understandable. In this sense, the use of complimentary approaches and techniques may allow the improvement of such maps, in order to provide better information to the planning and conduction of emergency actions. This project aims to develop a new approach to develop maps of environmental vulnerability to oil, joining, in an integrative manner, vulnerability indices based on coastal environment sensibility and modeling of oil plumes dispersion that indicate the likelihood of these environments are affected by the spilled oil. As case study, Santos Bay will be considered. This area is located on the central coast of São Paulo, presents an important oil terminal and should be a main concentrator of oil explored at pre-salt basin. Initially, the existing maps of environmental sensitivity to oil will be updated, using the protocol proposed by the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, which considers type of coastline, slope and sediment textures. Other considered aspects will be biological and socioeconomic resources present in the study area. The second step will consist in the establishment of conceptual scenarios simulating oil spills close to the shore, considering different conditions of tide, winds and waves, which influence the water circulation in the region. These simulations will use the GNOME model for oil spots trajectories, developed by NOAA. The water circulation pattern will be modeled by using the hydrodynamic model Delft-3d (Deltares, Holland). Oil spill scenarios will be generated for summer and winter conditions, simulating hypothetical spills based in the anchorage area of Santos Port, from a breakage of tanker hull, instantly releasing the whole content of a fuel tank (4,000 m3 of MF-380 oil). The model should allow estimating the oil plumes displacement within the Bay, in different conditions, and direction probabilities will be calculated, based on numerical models. The third step will consist in generating maps of environmental vulnerability to oil for each segment of coast, considering coastal sensitivity to oil and the probability of the oil reaches the mapped areas. At the end of this project, we hope that this integrative approach start to be used for planning emergency actions concerned to oil spills.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
ROMERO, A. F.; OLIVEIRA, M.; ABESSA, D. M. S. A simple Bird Sensitivity to Oil Index as a management tool in coastal and marine areas subject to oil spills when few biological information is available. Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 128, p. 460-465, MAR 2018. Web of Science Citations: 1.
ROMERO, A. F.; ABESSA, D. M. S.; FONTES, R. F. C.; SILVA, G. H. Integrated assessment for establishing an oil environmental vulnerability map: Case study for the Santos Basin region, Brazil. Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 74, n. 1, p. 156-164, SEP 15 2013. Web of Science Citations: 16.

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