Journal cover Journal topic
Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic

Journal metrics

Journal metrics

  • IF value: 2.289 IF 2.289
  • IF 5-year value: 2.756 IF 5-year 2.756
  • CiteScore value: 2.76 CiteScore 2.76
  • SNIP value: 1.050 SNIP 1.050
  • SJR value: 1.554 SJR 1.554
  • IPP value: 2.65 IPP 2.65
  • h5-index value: 30 h5-index 30
  • Scimago H index value: 41 Scimago H index 41
Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Sep 2018

Research article | 03 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

The effect of vertical mixing on the horizontal drift of oil spills

Johannes Röhrs1, Knut-Frode Dagestad1, Helene Asbjørnsen2, Tor Nordam3, Jørgen Skancke3, Cathleen E. Jones4, and Camilla Brekke5 Johannes Röhrs et al.
  • 1Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Henrik Mohns Plass 1, 0313 Oslo, Norway
  • 2Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen
  • 3SINTEF Ocean, Trondheim, Norway
  • 4Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • 5UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Abstract. Vertical and horizontal transport mechanisms of marine oil spills are investigated using numerical model simulations. To realistically resolve the 3D-development of a spill on the ocean surface and in the water column, recently published parameterizations for the vertical mixing of oil spills are implemented in the open source trajectory framework OpenDrift1. These encompass the wave-entrainment of oil, two alternative formulations for the droplet size spectra, and turbulent mixing. The performance of the integrated oil spill model is evaluated by comparing model simulations with airborne observations of an oil slick. The results show that an accurate description of a chain of physical processes, in particular vertical mixing and oil weathering, is needed to represent the horizontal spreading of the oil spill. Using ensembles of simulations of hypothetic oil spills, the general drift behavior of an oil spill during the first 10 days after initial spillage is evaluated in relation to how vertical processes control the horizontal transport. Vertical mixing of oil between the surface slick and entrained oil is identified as a crucial component affecting the horizontal transport of oil spills. The vertical processes are shown to control differences in the drift of various types of oil and in various weather conditions.


Johannes Röhrs et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
[Login for Authors/Topic Editors] [Subscribe to comment alert] Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Johannes Röhrs et al.
Model code and software

First release of OpenDrift, an open source framework for ocean trajectory modelling K.-F. Dagestad, J. Röhrs, Ø. Breivik, and B. Aadlandsvik

Johannes Röhrs et al.
Total article views: 451 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
369 74 8 451 13 14
  • HTML: 369
  • PDF: 74
  • XML: 8
  • Total: 451
  • BibTeX: 13
  • EndNote: 14
Views and downloads (calculated since 03 Sep 2018)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 03 Sep 2018)
Viewed (geographical distribution)  
Total article views: 450 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 450 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
No saved metrics found.
No discussed metrics found.
Latest update: 10 Dec 2018
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Simulations of hypothetical oil spills are presented to investigate how vertical mixing of oil affects the transport towards various directions. It is shown that the horizontal transport of oil greatly varies for different oil types and weather conditions. These differences are a consequence of the entrainment of oil from the surface into the ocean. While oil spills often get entrained into the water by waves, we show that submerged oil typically resurfaces after few hours or days.
Simulations of hypothetical oil spills are presented to investigate how vertical mixing of oil...