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KOSTYUCHENKO,YURIY, and ALEXANDER KITCHKA, Centre for Aerospace Research of the Earth, Institute Geological Sciences, of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences

Abstract: Environmental Hazards Assessment Case Study for the Ukraine's Offshore


This study presents the first results of the Information Modeling Technique (IMT) implementation to an environmentally sensitive area of the Ukraine's sector of Black Sea offshore and seaside resort areas and recreation zones using a set of remote sensing, geological / geophysical and ground truth data to control and manage ecological systems equilibrium while industrial impact is rapidly expanding. The matter of prime concern that is being analyzed is the possible dangerous aftermaths of the realization in near future of crude oil transportation (by tanker fleet or underwater pipelines) within the frame of various projects related to the so-called "Caspian Energy Route to Europe" and the growing upstream and downstream activity in Black Sea.

Modeling of the Black Sea Hydrodynamic System

This top priority task has been proposed to be solved using a new generation of information models, GIS-models in particular [Goovaerts P., 1997], to forecast oil spills or slicks in order to influence, with elaborations, the correct troubleshooting decisions and compromise strategies. These would take into account intrinsic behavioristic parameters of the entire basin ecosystem. The modeling technique is derived from multitudes theory application, approaches of topology and math logics [Shoenfield, 1967; Bourbaki, 1968]. Hydrodynamic standard situations has been carried out by fractal analysis for turbulence phenomena to facilitate detailed understanding of fine stratification effects especially for topmost near-surface water layer, isolated limnic-sea mass exchange, marine biota productivity, and so on [L.Pietronello, E.Tosatti, 1986; Scorer R.S., 1978]. For this analysis the data of remote sensing and of the satellites ERS-1 and 2, NOAA, in particular, have been interpreted along with the data of long-term ground measurements.

Determination of Environmentally Sensitive Zones: Interim Results

The following key permanent and seasonal hydrodynamic features define basin-scaled system of currents circulation [Malovitsky Ya.P., 1979; Kostyuchenko Yu.V., 1997]:
Main circum-Black Sea Stream;
Its subordinate branches (related to bottom and coastline topography);
System of permanent eddies of ca. 20 km linear scale;
System of seasonal vortex-like and some enigmatic (meteorological-related) features of 1-5 km in scale emerging within flow interactions sites;
Stable internal (thermocline-related) and atmospheric gravity waves controlling mass-heat-transfer phenomena (500 m to 1.5 km and separate class of 10-20 km);
Seasonal upwelling areas, stormy-dangerous parts of some bays and harbors.

The above-mentioned features allow recognization and classification of several dead aquatorial zones of high sensivity to possible pollution events, where contaminated water masses could be preserved for long periods of time with disastrous effects on adjoining shores. Gulf of Odessa and Danube, Dniester and Dniper deltas are confined to such an environmentally within the Ukraine's offshore.

The analysis of stability of ecological systems related to recreational zones of the South Crimea has also been carried out. It has confirmed high ecological sensitivity of regional natural systems in relation to possible accidents of marine oil spills.

The generalized results of the analysis of an ecological and hydrological situation in the region are shown on Figure 1. In the Environmental hazard assessment, the legend is as follows:
1 - environmentally sensitive areas;
2 - dead zones of marine circulation;
3 - areas of interaction of currents;
4 - probable route of Caspian crude transportation from port of Supsa (Georgia).


As shown in figure 1, the route for transportating oil should go around ecologically sensitive zones and zones of interaction of currents. The zones of current interaction are characterized by hydrodynamic instability and could result in an increase in accident probability during certain seasons. It is confirmed by cargo statistics of port Sevastopol. It is necessary to note that the present level of pollution rate of the Ukrainian sector of the Black Sea allows one to presume that the significant oil pollution will undoubtedly result in ecological damage for the region.

From this point of view the forthcoming oil transportation over Black Sea should thoroughly take into account the environmental issues so that certain corrections to the plan should be introduced using the set of the thematic maps like those presented.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #[email protected] International Conference and Exhibition, Birmingham, England