Oil spill models are software used to simulate the behaviour of oil in the water. They are able to simulate several processes, including drift, buoyancy, spreading and physical-chemical transformations (weathering) which oil is subjected to when it is in contact with sea water. They are also able to simulate biological processes, such as biodegradation, which is the decay in oil concentration due to consumption by sea bacteria. All these processes have to be calibrated and validated in laboratories before they can be used as inputs to the software that does the numerical simulations of oil spills. Laboratory facilities where physical-chemical processes such as oil weathering are done, as well as the laboratories where biodegradation studies are performed, are available in SINTEF-Norway but not in Brazil. The same is true for the oil spill model OSCAR (Oil Spill Contingency and Response), which was developed and is regularly being refined by SINTEF but not in Brazil. In Brazil there are no research groups dedicated specifically to the investigation of the effects of oil weathering and biodegradation in tropical waters, and so the model OSCAR is being used inadequately. It is imperative that a Brazilian researcher is trained in Norway to bring this knowledge to Brazil. This means that this Brazilian researcher will participate in the activities of several groups in SINTEF-Norway, including the groups dedicated to biodegradations studies, oil weathering studies and software development. This knowledge will be used in Brazil to refine the oil spill simulations used in contingency planning made by the National Environmental Agency (IBAMA) and the Brazilian Navy, which are responsible for emergency and contingency in the ocean.
This guest researcher grant project aims at exchanging and integrating knowledge in the areas of ocean circulation, oil spill modelling and contingency planning between Norway and Brasil. SINTEF Materials and Chemistry will contribute with knowledge about laboratory methods, model development and industrial application, SINTEF Fisheries and aquaculture will contribute with knowledge about data assimilation and real-time hydrodynamic modelling, and the guest researcher will contribute with knowledge about ocean circulation modelling and oil spill contingency needs in Brazil.