Evaluating hydrodynamic uncertainty in oil spill modeling
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A new method is presented to provide automatic sequencing of multiple hydrodynamic models and automated analysis of model forecast uncertainty. A Hydrodynamic and oil spill model Python (HyosPy) wrapper was developed to run the hydrodynamic model, link with the oil spill, and visualize results. The HyosPy wrapper completes the following steps automatically: (1) downloads wind and tide data (nowcast, forecast and historical); (2) converts data to hydrodynamic model input; (3) initializes a sequence of hydrodynamic models starting at pre-defined intervals on a multi-processor workstation. Each model starts from the latest observed data, so that the multiple models provide a range of forecast hydrodynamics with different initial and boundary conditions reflecting different forecast horizons. As a simple testbed for integration strategies and visualization on Google Earth, a Runge-Kutta 4th order (RK4) particle transport tracer routine is developed for oil spill transport. The model forecast uncertainty is estimated by the difference between forecasts in the sequenced model runs and quantified by using statistics measurements. The HyosPy integrated system with wind and tide force is demonstrated by introducing an imaginary oil spill in Corpus Christi Bay. The results show that challenges in operational oil spill modeling can be met by leveraging existing models and web-visualization methods to provide tools for emergency managers.