Dynamic ecological risk modelling of hydrocarbon release scenarios in Arctic waters.
Additional Document Info
The Arctic is an ecologically diverse area that is increasingly vulnerable to damages from oil spills associated with commercial vessels traversing newly open shipping lanes. The significance of such accidents on Arctic marine habitats and the potential for recovery can be examined using ecological risk assessment (ERA) coupled with a dynamic object-oriented Bayesian network (DOOBN). A DOOBN approach is useful to represent the probabilistic relationships inherent in the interactions between key events associated with an oil spill, including oil dispersion from the source, ice-oil slick interactions, seawater-oil slick formation, sedimentation, and exposures to different aquatic life. From such analysis, a probabilistic cost analysis can be performed to examine the theoretical cost of habitat services lost and restored. The application of an ERA-DOOBN model to assess oil spills in the Arctic is demonstrated using a case study. The utility of the model output for determining habitat restoration costs and developing policy guidelines for ecological response measures in the Arctic is also discussed.