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Oceanographic conditions in Galicia and the Southern Bay of Biscay and their influence on the Prestige oil spill M. Ruiz Villarreal , P. Otero, C. González Pola, A. Lavín, G. Díaz del Río and JM Cabanas Instituto Español de Oceanografía [email protected]

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Oceanographic conditions in Galicia and the Southern Bay of Biscay and their influence on the Prestige oil spill

M. Ruiz Villarreal, P. Otero, C. González Pola, A. Lavín, G. Díaz del Río and JM Cabanas

Instituto Español de Oceanografía

[email protected]

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Oceanographic conditions during the Prestige oil spill: need for analysis

Oil spill transport

- Main driving agent was wind, but coastal circulation apparently has an impact in stranding points and affected area

- What is the fate of the fuel deposited at the bottom and fuel in the water column?

Impact on ecosystems

- System subject to strong interannual variability. Difficult to ascribe an effect to the impact of oil spill. Conditions following spring are determinant for the response of the ecosystem

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IEO Standard Sections

Historical IEO Demersales survey

Prestige Plataforma1202

Prestige Plataforma0103

Historical IEO Pelacus survey

Hidroprestige0303

Accion Especial Prestige

Demersales0903

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Summer 2002 to Autumn 2003

Upwelling index at 43N 11W

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Salinity 100db Autumn 2002 Autumn 2003

Ruiz-Villarreal et al., Oceanographic conditions in Galicia and the Southern Bay of Biscay and their influence on the Prestige oil spill, Submitted to MPB, 2005

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3

Poleward Slope current carrying subtropical waters

Downwelling conditions

2

1

Freshwater plumes

Poleward slope

current

1

2

3

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River

plumes

Poleward current

domain

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Summer 2002 to Autumn 2003

Upwelling index at 43N 11W

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Spring transition in Galicia

- Freshwater plumes

- Poleward current at the slope (warmer and saltier)

Autumn-Winter

- Upwelling pulses

- Poleward current waters exported offshore during pulses

- Eddy activity

Spring

 at 5 dbar

Geostrophic vel. at 5 dbar

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Santander slope Cantabrian.

Intrusion of subtropical waters

Ruiz et al. Submitted to MPB, 2005

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Early commencement of spring in the Cantabrian Sea

Upwelling in the Cantabrian Sea during Pelacus

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MERCATOR-OCEAN PSY2 1/12º

January

December

March

February

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Galicia Bank

*

Prestige wreck mooring

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Conclusions

  • - Circulation during Prestige accident:
    • - end autumn-winter situation. Shelf and slope intense circulation: river plumes, slope current
    • - more research needed on response of plumes and slope current to wind forcing (Platerias and Zotracos projects)
    • - propagation in the Cantabrian driven by the poleward current needs further analysis: poleward flow in December, but no signals of intrusion of subtropical waters
  • - Circulation during spring
    • - Cruises performed during “spring transition”: upwelling pulses influence circulation, poleward weakens and is exported offshore
    • - Early commencement of spring in the Cantabrian, and this could have affected ecosystem response
  • - Galicia Bank impact on circulation: tidal distortion, mesoscale activity… Further research is needed. Seamount ecosystem?
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