An advanced scientific workshop
organised by
Istituto Geografico Polare “Silvio Zavatti”

To be held in
Fermo, Italy
20-23 September 2011

Tuesday 20 September:
At Villa Vitali, Viale Trento 29, Fermo
h. 14.00 – 16.00 (For those interested)
ACCESS project WP4 meeting, Library of Institute.
h. 16.00  Registration opens
h. 18.00 – 20.00 Icebreaker reception, Villa Vitali
Wednesday 21 September:
At University of Fermo, Viale Cefalonia 70, Fermo Aula H
h.09.00 Welcome
  The Mayor of Fermo and representatives from the Province of Fermo and the Marche Region; Renato Zavatti (Founder’s son); Dott. Daniele Verga (Foreign Ministry)
  The legacy of Silvio Zavatti
Dr. Maria Pia Casarini (Director, Istituto Geografico Polare “Silvio Zavatti”)
First session
h.09.30 Opening statement
Prof. Walter Munk
(Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla,
The purpose of the meeting
Prof. Peter Wadhams
(DAMTP, University of Cambridge, UK)

Keynote talk:
Oil Spill Behaviour in Ice, an overview of 35 years research and lessons for the future of Arctic spill response
David Dickins (D F Dickins Associates, La Jolla)

h.11.00 Coffee break
Oil spills under ice – some old light on a new threat to the Arctic environment
Prof. Peter Wadhams
(DAMTP, University of Cambridge).
This will include r
esults contributed by
Dr E Lyn Lewis
(Fisheries and Oceans Canada) and Prof. Seelye Martin (University of Washington)
h.12.30 Lunch
h.14.00  Keynote address:
On the Dynamics of Oil Plumes in Deep Water and some implications for exploration in the Arctic
Prof. Andy Woods (Director, BP Institute, Cambridge)
Oil spill modelling and under ice bathymetry
Dr Jeremy Wilkinson (SAMS, Oban)
h.15.15 Tea break
h.15.30 Keynote address:
Detection, tracking and recovering oil in sea ice:
recent advances in technology and near-term challenges
Dr Philip McGillivary (US Coast Guard, San Francisco)
h.16.15 End
h.17.00 Departure for Offida
h.18.00 Guided tour of Offida, visit to a winery and Banquet
offered by Regione Marche
Thursday 22 September:


h.09.00 Towards an integrated coastal sea-ice observatory for safe maritime operations and effective oil spill response
Prof. Hajo Eicken
(University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Oil-on-water response techniques and suitability to
ice-covered regions
Kirstin Taylor (Oil Spill Response Ltd., Southampton)

h.10.15 Coffee

Pollution transfer by oil encapsulation in Ice – A case study for the Sea of Okhotsk
Dr Natsuhiko Otsuka (
North Japan Port Consultants, Sapporo)


Oil spreading in broken ice and under a continuous ice cover
Dr Koh Izumiyama ( North Japan Port Consultants, Sapporo)


An alternative production system for offshore oil and gas deposits in environmentally sensitive regions
Prof. Ove Gudmedstad
(University of Stavanger, Norway)

h.12.15 Lunch

On the Lagrangian modelling of oil spill transport and dispersion in the Mediterranean Sea
Dott. Michela De Dominicis (
Ist. Naz. Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Bologna)


Satellite remote sensing detection and management of Rivista il Polo.
Nick Hughes
(Norwegian Ice Service, Tromso, Norway)


Oil spill contingency for Arctic and ice-covered waters: Summary of a 3-year joint industry project at SINTEF.
Mark Reed
(SINTEF, Trondheim, Norway)

 – h.15.30

 Tea break


The drift and spreading of the Runner-4 oil spill in the Gulf of Finland.
Keguang Wang (Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Tromsø, Norway)

h.16.15 End
 h.16.45 Guided tour of Fermo
 h.19.15 Dinner at “L’enoteca bar a vino” in Piazza del Popolo
h.21.30 Concert at Oratorio di Santa Monica
Friday 23 September:
h.09.00 Panel discussion leading to statement on oil spill cleanup problems and press release.
Chairman: Lawson Brigham
Panel members: Peter Wadhams, David Dickins, Martin Doble, Nick Hughes, Mark Myers, Annette La Belle-Hamer, Mark Reed, Todd Sformo
h.12.00 End of conference. Lunch at Hotel Astoria.
h.12.30   Lunch at Hotel Astoria.


Oil Spill Behaviour in Ice: overview of four decades of
research and lessons for future Arctic Spill Response

David Dickins,

D F Dickins Associates LLC, La Jolla, California USA.

The paper reviews the history of research into the behavior spills in ice covered waters and summarizes the current state of knowledge, drawing on the findings from a number of milestone field experiments conducted over the past 40 years. In addition the paper demonstrates how the presence of ice can enhance the removal of oil from the Arctic marine environment and potentially reduce the environmental impacts compared to an equivalent spill in open water.

There is an extensive background of research into all aspects of Arctic spill response and our level of understanding is extremely good in many areas, such as understanding: how the presence of fast ice can prevent shoreline oiling for much of the year, how close pack ice contains the oil from spreading, how oil trapped in the ice through the winter is maintained in a fresh state, and how trapped oil is exposed on the ice surface in the spring. Key observations from large-scale field experiments are that the natural containment reduced wave action and slower weathering in the presence of significant ice cover, can greatly extend the windows of opportunity and effectiveness for response operations such as burning. In contrast, the presence of ice and limited logistics infrastructure severely limits the utility and practicality of traditional response options relying on boom and skimmer systems.

Future advances in our ability to respond to spills in ice can only be developed and tested by going offshore and conducting large-scale field experiments with oil in a natural ice environment. The record shows clearly that it is entirely possible to plan and execute oil spill experiments safely with no harm to the environment. Improved response capabilities require the use of credible, proven strategies and systems that can cope with a range of ice and weather conditions. These improvements can only be achieved through an increased understanding on the part of all stakeholders of the critically important role that field experiments have played and will continue to play in validating smaller scale laboratory and basin tests.

On the Lagrangian modelling of oil spill transport and dispersion in the
Mediterranean Sea

M. De Dominicis*1, N. Pinardi2, G. Coppini1, G. Zodiatis3, R. Lardner3

1Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Bologna, Italy
2Corso di Scienze Ambientali, University of Bologna, Ravenna, Italy
3 Oceanographic Centre, University of Cyprus, Cyprus

Corresponding author, email: michela.

Many factors affect the motion and transformation of an oil slick at sea and some of the most relevant are: the meteo-marine conditions at the air-sea interface (wind, waves, air water temperature), the initial volume and chemical characteristics of the oil and finally the marine currents at different space and time scales. Transport, dispersion and transformation processes can be simulated using a Lagrangian oil spill model coupled with Eulerian circulation models. The oil spill model MEDSLIK-II has been developed to simulate the transport of the surface slick governed by the water currents and by the wind. Forecasting of the Lagrangian trajectories relies on the accuracy of ocean currents. The advent of operational oceanography and accurate operational models of the circulation make possible the knowledge of the ocean currents fields, which can be provided by the analyses and forecasts available hourly or daily by a forecasting Ocean General Circulation Model (OGCM). The MEDSLIK-II model is now operationally used for short term forecasting in the Mediterranean Sea. It has been used to provide timely information on the oil spill evolution forecasting during several emergency cases. It uses the current velocity fields provided by the Mediterranean Forecasting System (MFS) and by other higher resolution operational hydrodynamic models. MEDSLIK-II includes a proper representation of high frequency currents and wind fields in the advective components of the Lagrangian trajectory model, the introduction of the Stokes drift velocity and the coupling with the remote-sensing data to be used as initial conditions. Oil particles are also dispersed by turbulent fluctuation components that are parameterized with a random walk scheme. In addition to advective and diffusive displacements, the oil spill parcels characteristics change due to various physical and chemical processes that transform the oil (evaporation, emulsification, dispersion in water column, adhesion to coast).

MEDSLIK-II has been validated with surface drifters data, with satellite data and in-situ data in different Mediterranean regions.

Towards an integrated coastal sea-ice observatory for safe maritime
operations and effective oil-spill response

Hajo Eicken1, Joshua Jones1, Rohith MV2, C. Kambhamettu2, F. Meyer1, A. Mahoney1, M. L. Druckenmiller1, C. Petrich1

1: Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775,
2: Video/Image Modeling and Synthesis (VIMS) Lab, Dept. of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716

Increasing industrial activity in the maritime Arctic, in particular offshore oil and gas development, require strategies to ensure safe operations. In particular, hazards associated with the presence of sea ice and response to oil spills in ice-covered waters have been recognized as major challenges. Monitoring of environmental hazards and effective emergency response in sea-ice environments require high-resolution data of ice hazard distributions (e.g., multiyear ice, landfast ice break-out and ice push events), ice movement and deformation as well as ice characteristics and dynamics relevant to oil spill response. We have developed a prototype coastal observing system at Barrow, Alaska that addresses such information needs. Imagery obtained from a marine X-band radar with a digital controller is combined with data from on-ice sensors (ice thickness, ice and water temperature, sea level) and assessments of potentially hazardous ice conditions by local experts. Digital imagery and data are processed and disseminated in near-real time. Using a combination of image processing approaches (optical flow, Lucas-Kanade tracker), ice velocity fields, floe trajectories and boundaries of stationaryice are derived automatically. Early onset of hazardous events is detected through Hidden Markov Modelling, providing potential decision-support in operational settings. In conjunction with laboratory experiments, in-ice temperature sensors can provide information critical to spill clean-ups, such as the timing of vertical migration of oil into level landfast ice.

An alternative production system for offshore oil and gas deposits in environmentally sensitive regions.

Ove T Gudmestad, Professor of Marine Technology, University of Stavanger, Norway


The production of offshore oil and gas deposits in environmental sensitive areas might cause oil spills that will be difficult to manage and that might cause considerable damage, in particular in the case of near shore locations or in the case of ice coverage or drifting ice. For the near shore situation the oil might drift onto the shoreline quicker than the oil spill contingency measure can react. For situations with ice, the question of oil spill collection remains unresolved, although certain measures developed to contain smaller spills are considered promising, such as use of burning. The use of large amounts of dispersion fluids has not yet been fully documented for the cold climate.

For environmental sensitive near shore areas, in particular in near shore areas with ice, we will propose a production system where any potential oil spill in a controlled manner is routed to collection basins onshore. We propose that the production system is placed in tunnel systems with transfer of the untreated well stream to processing facilities onshore.

The tunnel will be driven in a conventional manner (by blasting in high strength rocks and by use of tunnel boring machines (TBM) in softer sediments) to a location where a cavern is prepared for installation of drilling equipment. During drilling and subsequent production we propose that the cavern could be filled or partly filled with water to ensure that any hydrocarbon leakages immediately is detected, to allow for remotely operated vehicles to operate in the tunnel and to ensure that no personnel would access the tunnel during the drilling and the subsequent production phase.

The proposed concept necessitates the use of wet drilling equipment that is presently under development in the Stavanger region (the Sea Bed rig concept) and the operations will be as for a subsea production system. It should be noted that it is not considered realistic to use the system for exploration drilling due to the huge costs of the tunnel and the cavern and the time it takes to drive the tunnels.

It could be envisaged that the production system could be employed in Alaska offshore as well as in Sakhalin offshore and other regions of the Russian Arctic offshore where hydrocarbon deposits are documented near to shore (within 30 to 50 km from the shore) as well as offshore Greenland and offshore Labrador where iceberg drift represent a hindrance to the development. For Norway, the concept could also be considered for environmentally sensitive regions without ice.

The paper presents the concept and the challenges as well as the outline for a Scope of work for a planned Feasibility study. The work will be based on results obtained by Acona Wellpro and Sintef during previous studies of a proposed dry production tunnel concept.

Satellite Remote Sensing Detection and Management of
Rivista il Polo

Nick Hughes, Norwegian Ice Service (Forecasting Division for Northern Norway, Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Kirkegårdsveien 60, NO-9293 Tromsø, Norway)


Whilst there is numerous literature on the use of satellite (and airborne) remote sensing technology to detect of oil spills in open water, and countless papers on the remote sensing of sea ice, there has been very little work combining both. This presentation reviews the state-of-the-art in this field and how satellite sensors can be used, firstly to detect an unreported oil spill event, and secondly in ice management to help in the clear up once a spill has been reported and is known.The best, and proven , use of satellite remote sensing in the event of an oil spill in ice covered waters is in ice management. Ice can be tracked from the point of contamination, and response vessels aided in their navigation to it for handling the clear up.

There have been virtually no oil spill incidents coinciding with sea ice. The biggest so far was the sinking of the cargo ship Runner 4 on 5 March 2006 in the Gulf of Finland, following a collision. The wreck started leaking both light and heavy fuel oil but this was difficult to detect in the first week due to severe ice conditions. Oil patches that appeared in the following 10 days were small, less than 0.1 km2, and spread over a large area. No high resolution SAR data exists for studying this event, although some medium resolution optical imaging is available for cloud-free periods.

Regulatory obstacles hinder any attempt to have field trials of satellite detection of Rivista il Polo. To date there have been only 3 field studies in pack ice, of which only one was recent enough to have occurred in the modern satellite SAR era allowing observation with high resolution polarimetric SAR. Therefore the ability to detect an oil spill in sea ice using satellite, particularly if it is unreported, remains mostly unknown.

Oil Spreading in Broken Ice and under a Continuous
Ice Cover

What we know and what we should know more –

Koh Izumiyama* and Natsuhiko Otsuka
*Corresponding author: North Japan Port Consultant Co. Ltd.
18 Kita-2, Heiwadori, Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo 003-0029 Japan


The spreading behavior of oil in ice varies depending on ice conditions and the source location relative to the ice. This paper discusses oil spreading in broken ice and under a continuous ice cover. A key question is raised to each of the two different modes of oil spreading and discussion is made around them.

Oil released in broken ice spreads on the surface along the leads and openings between ice floes and blocks. It is generally recognized that the spreading of oil in ice is contained within a smaller area compared with that in open water conditions. An analysis of data obtained in experimental spills performed in icecovered waters in Canada and Norway shows that oil-infested area and oil thickness varies much as a function of ice concentration. The first question is What is the mechanism that controls oil spreading in broken ice?

Oil may be spilled in water under continuous ice cover from a submerged source such as a ruptured pipeline. The oil rises due to its buoyancy in the water column and then spreads along the water-ice interface. Under-ice surface is hardly flat and smooth but roughened through various processes such as mechanical interaction of ice causing hummocks and ridges and/or insulation effects by snow cover on top of the ice. Oil spreading over the interface is trapped in under-ice depressions and a large amount of oil can eventually be pooled under the ice. The second question is How much oil can be pooled under an ice cover?

To each of the questions, related works including field and laboratory studies, and analytical and numerical models are reviewed to discuss to what extent we know the answer to it. Discussion is further made of what we should know more to better understand the phenomena.

The drift and spreading of the Runner-4 oil spill in the Gulf of Finland
Keguang Wang
Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Tromsø, Norway
In this paper, we analyze the drift and spreading of the “Runner 4” oil spill in the ice-covered Gulf of Finland. The oil spill was caused by the sinking of the Dominican-registered cargo ship “Runner 4” on 5 March 2006, after collision with the Malta-registered cargo ship “Svjatoi Apostol Andrey”. This oil spill was very difficult to detect in the first week due to severe ice conditions. Combating operations started when the wind pushed the ice floes away and the spill was observed in open sea areas. Two efforts were made to collect and control the oil spill, one during 15–19 March and the other on 9 April. A sea ice dynamics model is employed to simulate the evolution of the ice conditions. A comparison between the oil spill coverage and the sea ice movement suggests that part of the oil followed with the ice while another part of it must have drifted together with the surface current. The observations also show that the oil was continuously leaking from the hole in the port side of the “Runner 4”, at least until 9 April.

Detection, Tracking and Recovery of oil in sea ice: Recent advances in technology and near-term challenges

Phil McGillivary
US Coast Guard Pacific Area Science Liaison, Alameda, Ca.

The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the US Gulf of Mexico provoked a review of technologies for the detection and tracking of oil, as well as questions about methods of dispersing and recovering it, and its fate in the ecosystem. The increasing pace of oil and gas development in high latitude regions also requires examination of what we know, and what we need to know about oil behaviour in an ice-infested environment. Some of the technological advances developed after the DWH spill could potentially be brought to bear in the case of an arctic oil spill, but remain to be tested. Ice and also other challenges of the arctic must be addressed in terms of limiting detection, tracking and recovery efforts developed for lower latitudes. To address the challenges of oil in ice, it must be remembered that there are two categories of possible spills: those related to shipping accidents which tend to be short events, and those related to oil and gas exploration which can be more persistent, these two types of spill differ in probability and response needs.Beyond simply detecting oil spilled in ice, there is the challenge of tracking ice movement and evolution. Ice tracking on range scales of 100s of kilometers with updates every 15 minutes to an hour can be done using high frequency portable radars with methods that permit concurrent but separate surface current mapping which we review. Evolution of oil within the ice on a smaller scale is discussed using acoustic means of monitoring ice aging and oil migration in brine channels, and in vertical layers during continued ice thickness increases. The fate and evolution of oil in the marginal ice zone is perhaps the most difficult situation due to the physical dynamics of this important environment. However methods have recently been proposed to monitor ice edge dynamics using coordinated autonomous surface and underwater vehicles and autonomous aircraft programmed to automatically respond in a coherent manner to environmental changes (such as ice-breeze dynamics) in real-time, or can be controlled in real-time via human interaction. Finally, as was discovered in the DWH incident, there is also a need to monitor the biota (whales, seals, seabirds, etc.) in these environments to determine the exposure of these animals to spilled oil and how to minimize effects on the biota during clean-up efforts. Techniques for dealing with this part of a response plan are also discussed.

To address these two scenarios we review recent advances in methods of detecting oil in ice, including optical, acoustic and electromagnetic methods which may be deployed from manned aircraft, helicopters, ships, ROVs, autonomous surface vessels and autonomous underwater vessels. Current US oil spill response plans consider dispersant use, so results of recent US experiments with oil and dispersant mixtures conducted in Halifax, Canada, are discussed in terms of dispersant changes in oil detection capabilities. Oil detection and monitoring in ice over large areas and long time periods requires techniques different than those from detection and monitoring over smaller scales. Satellite, aircraft and unmanned aircraft capabilities and technology developments for the future are reviewed. On a smaller scale, such as is needed for clean-up, ROVs, autonomous underwater vehicles, and gliders can be used to determine under-ice oil aggregation areas. However oil and ice data from all time-space scales and sensor platforms must be integrated to focus response efforts. Data streams also need to be updated regularly. These needs pose a significant challenge to response which is reviewed for the DWH example as it relates to needs in the arctic, which may include unique dynamics such as ice surges, for example.

Pollution Transfer by Oil Encapsulation in Ice
A Case Study for the Sea of Okhotsk –

Natsuhiko Otsuka*, Koh Izumiyama, Kazutaka Tateyama and Hiroshi Saeki
*Corresponding author: North Japan Port Consultant Co. Ltd.
18 Kita-2, Heiwadori, Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo 003-0029 Japan
mail address:


Oil spilled under ice is trapped in under-ice depressions and may eventually be encapsulated as the ice grows beneath it. Such oil migrates with the ice and be released to the environment when ice melts at sea distance away from the original spill site. This is a pollution transfer mode unique to oil spilling in ice-covered waters.

This paper presents the result of a case study for this type of pollution transfer for the Sea of Okhotsk where exploitations of hydrocarbons are underway in the continental shelf of Sakhalin island. The Sea of Okhotsk sees sea ice occurrence and it stretches to the northern coast of Japan in midwinter by a strong southbound current along the eastern coast of Sakhalin island (East Sakhalin Current).

Works related to oil encapsulation in ice are reviewed. This includes field and laboratory experiments observing the encapsulation process and the fate of the oil. Time required for the oil to be encapsulated is calculated by a model that takes account of heat transfer through oil and ice. Recent field measurements of East Sakhalin Current and the analyses of satellite images for sea ice motion in the Sea of Okhotsk are used to calculate the time for the oilcontaminated ice to drift.

Results are given as a function of season and location of oil spills.
Recommendations are presented for the pollution prevention against the pollution
transfer by oil encapsulation in ice.

On the Dynamics of Oil Plumes in Deep Water and some implications for exploration in the Arctic

Andy Woods
Director, BP Institute, Cambridge UK.

In this talk we describe some of the physical processes which occur in deep water oil spills, referring to recent field observations in the Gulf of Mexico and also laboratory and field experiments. We then discuss some of the implications of these models for potential oil spills in the Arctic.