In situ estimates of horizontal turbulent diffusivity at the sea surface for oil transport simulation

Mar Pollut Bull. 2017 Apr 15;117(1-2):34-40. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.10.026. Epub 2016 Oct 14.


Despite many previous in situ estimates of horizontal diffusivity below the sea surface, horizontal diffusivity at the sea surface, which is a parameter required in the prediction of oil diffusion, has not been formulated. This study conducted in situ estimations to quantify horizontal diffusivity at the sea surface. To measure the horizontal diffusivity at and below the sea surface, clusters of thin sponge rubbers (simulating spilled oil), together with drifting buoys, were deployed on successive occasions in Sagami Bay, Japan. The experimental results revealed that horizontal diffusivity was larger at the sea surface than below. Based on the results, a procedure for estimating horizontal diffusivity at the sea surface was introduced to predict the diffusion of spilled oil, which was verified using numerical simulations. The simulation results showed good agreement with observations, suggesting the procedure is appropriate for the estimation of horizontal diffusivity at the sea surface.

Keywords: Horizontal diffusivity; In situ estimates; Oil transport simulation; Sagami Bay.

MeSH terms

  • Bays
  • Japan
  • Petroleum Pollution*
  • Petroleum*
  • Seawater
  • Water Movements*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Petroleum
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical