TERRAPUB Journal of Oceanography

Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 64 (No. 1), pp. 103-114, 2008

Particle Tracking Experiments on a Model of the Okhotsk Sea: Toward Oil Spill Simulation

Kay I. Ohshima1* and Daisuke Simizu2

1Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0819, Japan
2Japan Sea National Fisheries Research Institute, Fisheries Research Agency, Niigata 951-8121, Japan

(Received 27 April 2007; in revised form 13 September 2007; accepted 13 September 2007)

Abstract: Particle tracking experiments were conducted for the Sea of Okhotsk using a three-dimensional ocean circulation model, as a step toward the simulation of oil spills. The model's reproducibility is first examined in detail. Comparison with surface drifter and moored ADCP data shows that the model successfully reproduces the velocity field over the shelves, particularly in the weak stratification period. This is because the current variability is simply determined by integration of the alongshore component of the wind stress over the coast from which arrested topographic waves propagate. Good agreement even in the ice-covered period implies that the neglect of sea ice in the model is not a problem for reproduction of the current over the shelves. Good agreement also supports the correction of ECMWF wind speed by a factor of 1.25. A series of particle tracking experiments was carried out to examine the case of particles released from the Sakhalin oil field at depths of 0 m and 15 m. Regardless of the deployment month and year, most particles at depth 15 m are transported southward along the Sakhalin coast, in accordance with the abrupt intensification of the East Sakhalin Current in October, finally arriving offshore of Hokkaido in November-January. Particles at the surface, which are affected by wind drift in addition to the ocean current, show larger yearly variability. In years when the offshoreward-wind dominates, the particles would be advected out of the mainstream of the current and would not be transported offshore of Hokkaido.

*Corresponding author E-mail: ohshima@lowtem.hokudai.ac.jp

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