A Coastal Prediction System as an Event Response Tool: Particle Tracking Simulation of an Anhydrous Ammonia Spill in Tampa Bay

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Tampa Bay, Numerical modeling, Pollutant, Ammonium, Particle tracking, Pseudo-nitzschia

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A coastal prediction system for Tampa Bay, comprised of a numerical circulation model and Lagrangian particle transport model, rapidly produces hindcast/forecast simulations that alert authorities to high impact areas following the introduction of hazardous material into the bay. The effectiveness of the prediction system as an event response tool is evaluated during an anhydrous ammonia spill. A week-long simulation predicts the trajectory of the material due to winds and currents. Physical transport of the model particles alternates from being tidally driven to being driven both by wind action and residual circulation. A forecast simulation showing particle distribution drove field sampling that resulted in the detection of a Pseudo-nitzschia bloom likely initiated from excess ammonium in the bay. An online component of the coastal prediction system is in development to better manage response and mitigation efforts for future hazardous material spills in Tampa Bay.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 58, issue 8, p. 1202-1209