An algorithm for modeling entrainment and naturally and chemically dispersed oil droplet size distribution under surface breaking wave conditions

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A surface oil entrainment model and droplet size model have been developed to estimate the flux of oil under surface breaking waves. Both equations are expressed in dimensionless Weber number (We) and Ohnesorge number (Oh, which explicitly accounts for the oil viscosity, density, and oil-water interfacial tension). Data from controlled lab studies, large-scale wave tank tests, and field observations have been used to calibrate the constants of the two independent equations. Predictions using the new algorithm compared well with the observed amount of oil removed from the surface and the sizes of the oil droplets entrained in the water column. Simulations with the new algorithm, implemented in a comprehensive spill model, show that entrainment rates increase more rapidly with wind speed than previously predicted based on the existing Delvigne and Sweeney's (1988) model, and a quasi-stable droplet size distribution (d < ~ 50 μm) is developed in the near surface water.

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Marine Pollution Bulletin