Estimation of ecological risk of oil spills in ice-covered waters: a surface slick model coupled with a food-web bioaccumulation model

Dias Bernardino De Oliveira, Guilherme (2019) Estimation of ecological risk of oil spills in ice-covered waters: a surface slick model coupled with a food-web bioaccumulation model. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The limited knowledge on the Arctic environment and ecology leads to uncertainties in case of oil spills resulting from shipping and oil and gas activities enabled by a more accessible Arctic, as ice retreats due to climate changes. The behavior of oil in ice-covered waters is also not fully understood and, although models have been developed and adapted to ice conditions, gaps in knowledge still exist. The present work aims at the definition of the ecological risk posed by an oil spill in the Arctic by the implementation of two methodologies, introduced on Chapters 3 and 4. On the first part, the fate of surface oil slicks formed after an oil spill in ice-infested waters is examined and improvements are suggested to existing transport and weathering algorithms in order to represent all processes as a function of ice coverage. In addition, a new algorithm is proposed to model the phenomenon of oil entrainment in ice, a process so far neglected in current models. On the second part, a fugacity-based food-web bioaccumulation model is proposed to determine the ecological risk introduced by oil spills to a hypothetical Arctic food web consisting of three species’ representative of the Arctic ecosystem characterizing three trophic levels linearly related. This is done in three steps: first, the model estimates the distribution of a toxic component of oil – namely naphthalene – in the multimedia environment; then, the transfer of contaminant throughout the food web is predicted; lastly, the bioaccumulation potential and the ecological risk profile are defined as a function of respectively the Bioconcentration Potential (BCF) and the Risk Quotient (RQ). The present thesis thus provides a complete picture of an oil spill scenario in ice-covered waters, and emphasis is given in the implications of such events to the unspoiled Arctic ecosystem.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 14050
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 130-140).
Keywords: Arctic, oil spill, ecological risk, fugacity, bioaccumulation, ice
Department(s): Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of
Date: October 2019
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Oil spills and wildlife--Arctic regions; Petroleum--Bioaccumulation--Arctic regions--Mathematical models; Food chains (Ecology)--Arctic regions--Mathematical models.

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