Oceanography Center – University of Cyprus


MEDSLIK is an oil spill and trajectory 3D model, that predicts the transport, fate and weathering of oil spills and the movement of floating objects in the Mediterranean, the Black and the Baltic seas (Lardner and Zodiatis 1998).
The MEDSLIK incorporates the evaporation, emulsification, viscosity changes, dispersion in water column, adhesion to coast. The transport of the surface slick is governed by currents, waves (Stoke’s drift) and wind while its diffusion is modelled by a random walk (Monte Carlo) model. Oil may be dispersed into the water column by wave action but dispersed oil is moved by currents only. The oil is considered to consist of a light evaporative component and a heavy non evaporative component. Emulsification is also simulated, and the viscosity changes of the oil are computed according to the amounts of emulsification and evaporation of the oil. The pollutant is divided into a large number of Lagrangian parcels of equal size. At each time step, each parcel is given a convective and a diffusive displacement. Mechanical spreading of the initial slick is included with fate processes included in the model as the evaporation of the lighter oil fractions and the mixing into the water column by wave action and emulsification (De Dominicis et al 2013).


Oil viscosity changes and beaching on the coast and absorption depending on the coastal type. MEDSLIK covers the Mediterranean sea, the Levantine basin, the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, but it can be used for any user-selected region in the world if the appropriate map, bathymetry and forecast files are provided.
MEDSLIK consists of four modules:

1. a setup module for model domain and parameters;
2. a visual interface for input of the spill data;
3. a run module that performs the simulation and
4. a visual interface for viewing the output

Additional oil spill model capabilities are beaching, hindcast, automatic connection to EMSA CSN SAR detections, use of ESA images. Other features of MEDSLIK:
• It includes a built-in database (from REMPEC) of 230 oil types that are the most common in the Mediterranean Sea.
• It allows to switch from coarse to high resolution ocean forecasting data, when the oil slick passes from a coarse to a higher resolution domain.
• It allows assimilation of observations, in-situ or aerial to correct the oil spill predictions.
• The effect of deployment of oil booms and/or oil skimmers-recovery can be examined.
• Continuous or instantaneous oil spills from moving or drifting ships whose slicks merge can be modeled together.
• Hindcast simulations for tracking the source of pollution.
• Integration with the AIS in the Levantine Basin
• It includes a simple GIS to allow information on coastal and open sea resources.
• Simulation of sub-surface oil spills
The length of the forecast is from few hours up to 3 weeks, but there is a Restart option, so the length of the forecasts can be extended further.
MEDSLIK predicts the oil slick at sea surface, evaporated, dispersed in the water column, stack on coast. Then the oil slick viscosity, oil density, oil slick volume.

The model has been used successfully during the Lebanon oil spill crisis during summer 2006 (Lardner et al, 2006; Coppini et al, 2011), which is considered the biggest oil spill in the Eastern Mediterranean so far (World Bank 2007), as well to other local real oil spill incidents, the most recent one was in July 2013 in the Famagusta Bay, Cyprus, following an incident from a tanker. Moreover, MEDSLIK has been used from 2007 to April 2012 for operational 24 hours forward and backward predictions coupled with EMSA- CSN and ESA ASAR images detecting possible oil spill in the Levantine Basin (Zodiatis et al. 2012a). MEDSLIK has received inter-comparison with other oil spill models using surface drifters (Brostrom et al. 2008; De Dominicis et al., 2010; Zodiatis et al, 2014).

MEDSLIK is used by several agencies throughout the Mediterranean (Cyprus, Italy, Israel, Malta, Spain), and is in the core of the Mediterranean Decision Support System for Marine Safety (www.medess4ms.eu), a service for operational oil spill predictions in the Mediterranean, which is integrated with the regional, sub-regional and coastal operational oceanographic forecasting data (Zodiatis et al. 2012b).

Lardner, R.W., Zodiatis, G., 1998, An operational oil spill model in the Levantine Basin (Eastern Mediterranean Sea). Int. Symp. Mar. Pollut. 10, 5–9.
Brostrom, G., Carrasco, A., Daniel, P., Hackett, B., Lardner, R., Panayidou, X., Paradis, D., and Zodiatis, G. (2008). Comparison of different oil drift models and different ocean forcing with observed drifter trajectory in the Mediterranean, in: Coastal to Global Operational Oceanography: Achievements and challenges, 5th EuroGoos Conference proceedings, Sandy Park, Exeter, UK, 20–22 May.
Coppini, G., De Dominicis, M., Zodiatis, G., Lardner, R., Pinardi, N., Santoleri, R, Colella, S., Bidnami, F., Hayes, D.R., Soloviev, D., Georgiou, G., Kallos, G., 2011, Hindcast of oil-spill pollution during the Lebanon crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean, July–August 2006. Mar. Poll. Bull., 62, 140-153.
De Dominicis, M., Pinardi, N., Fabbroni, N., Coppini, G., Zodiatis, G., Lardner, R., 2010, Oil spill forecasting in the Mediterranean Sea, Proceedings of 5th International Conference on EuroGOOS. Coastal to Global Operational Oceanography: Achievements and Challenges, EuroGOOS publication 28, 521-524, ISBN 978-91-974828-6-8.
De Dominicis, M., Pinardi, N., Zodiatis, G., Lardner, R., 2013b, MEDSLICK-II, a Lagrangian marine surface oil spill model for short-term forecasting – Part 1: Theory. Geosci. Model Dev., 6, 1851-1869.
Lardner R., Zodiatis, G., Hayes, D., Pinardi, N., 2006, Application of the MEDSLIK oil spill model to the Lebanese spill of July 2006. European Group of Experts on satellite monitoring of sea based oil pollution, European Communities ISSN 1018-5593.
World Bank: Report No. 39787-LB: Republic of Lebanon, Economic Assessment of Environmental Degradation due to July 2006 Hostilities, 2007.
Zodiatis, G., Lardner, R., Solovyov, D., Panayidou, X., De Dominicis, M., 2012a, Predictions of oil slicks detected from satellite images using MyOcean forecasting data, Ocean Science, 8,1105-1115.
Zodiatis. G. et.al. (2012b). Operational Decision Support System for Marine Safety dedicated to oil slicks predictions. World Maritime Technology Conference, Saint-Petersburg, 29 May – 1 June.
Zodiatis G., R. Lardner, A. Nicolaidis, S. Stylianou, X. Panayidou, D. Hayes, G. Galanis and G. Georgiou (2014). MyOcean products in the CYCOFOS Decision Support System for Marine Safety. Proccedings of the 6th Conference on EuroGOOS: Sustainable Operational Oceanography, EuroGOOS publication no.30, 290-299, ISBN 978-91-974828-9-9.