Effects of swell on transport and dispersion of oil plumes within the ocean mixed layer

Bicheng Chen, Di Yang, Charles Meneveau, Marcelo Chamecki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The transport in the ocean mixed layer (OML) of oil plumes originated from deepwater blowouts is studied using large eddy simulations. In particular, we focus on the effects of swell on the modulation of turbulence in the OML and its impact on oil transport. Results show that when the misalignment between the wind and the swell propagation is small, Langmuir cells develop and significantly enhance the vertical dilution of the oil plume. Conversely, when the misalignment is large, vertical dilution is suppressed when compared to the no-swell case. Due to the strong directional shear of the mean flow within the OML, plume depth significantly impacts mean transport direction. The size of oil droplets in the plume also plays an important role in vertical dilution and mean transport direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3564-3578
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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