Collaborative Efforts to Model Great Lakes Oil Spills — June 2019 webinar
Articles, Blog

Collaborative Efforts to Model Great Lakes Oil Spills — June 2019 webinar

September 7, 2019

– [ Mark] So, hi again. This is Mark Breederland
again, with Michigan Sea Grant. I’m based here in Traverse City, Michigan. Welcome to our first webinar of 2019, which is hosted by the
Great Lakes Sea Grant Crude Oil Transport Network. I serve as the Michigan Sea Grant representative on this team, and it’s a pretty broad geography. If you don’t know the Great Lakes system, our Sea Grant system is from Minnesota to actually New York and Vermont. And I have a colleague
there at Lake Champlain that’s even a part of our team. So again, this is our
first webinar of 2019, hosted by our team. This Crude Oil Transport webinar
series is meant to provide the latest research and
resources to stakeholders in the region to help
inform decision-making around this complicated and complex issue. Anyone with a vested
interest in how crude oil and associated products
move through the region, will find some of the content informative. Let me give you a few logistics
before we get started here to give maximum time
to our presenter today. So first of all, the
webinar is being recorded and is going to be available on our Crude Oil Transport website. You can see the name there. That’s G-L-S-L for Great
Lakes St. Lawrence, You will be invited to submit questions through the Zoom questions and answer box. Think you’ll find that on
the right of your screen. So at the end of the, There will be a Q&A session
at the end of the talk. But we will be ending right
at three o’clock Eastern time. And I know our presenter
has to get back on the road. One more note, and kind of a plug here. Our second webinar in
this series is July 23rd, the same time with Stephen
Keck, who’s the chief of Contingency Planning
and Force Readiness for the US Coast Guard
of the Sault Sector, Sault Sainte Marie. So, hope you can look at your calendars and you’ll find information
on their website. And join us as well for
that interesting webinar. I think those are all my logistics. We have a wonderful team at
our Ann Arbor Sea Grant office that’s helping out. And they’ll introduce themselves a little bit later in the talk. But, I think with all
those, that’s the logistics that we needed to cover. And it’s now my pleasure to
introduce Dr. Guy Meadows. Guy Meadows serves as
the Robbins Professor of Sustainable Marine Engineering
and was the first director of Michigan Technological University’s Great Lakes Research Center. Michigan Tech, as we call it here. So Guy, was also a faculty
member with 35 years at the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering in Ann Arbor, where he directed the
marine hydrodynamics lab and NOAA Cooperative Institute for analogy and ecosystem research,
among many other things. No one believed what today’s webinar, he served on the Michigan
governor’s pipeline safety advisory board from its founding in 2015 until his resignation in 2017 to take on this Herculean
task of correlating a multidisciplinary team of academics and scientists to actually
complete a risk analysis an estimate potential total
liability or worst-case oil spill scenarios at
the Straits of Mackinac. We’re really excited to
have Guy here tell us today. He’s here. The title of his presentation is Great Lakes, Big Team Science
and the Independent Risk Analysis for the Straits of Mackinac. Thanks so much, Guy. We’re gonna turn it over to you. – [Guy] Thank you, Mark. And appreciate that introduction here. Let me share my screen. Thanks everyone. Have a good afternoon. I’m Guy Meadows Michigan
Tech, and I’d like to share with you a little bit of the
history of how we got involved in the independent risk analysis. First of all, Michigan Tech
has two locations in Michigan. The main campus from
the Keweenaw Peninsula, in Central Lake Superior. And as you can see from
this satellite image, far above the snow line. We’re about 7200 students, 481 faculty divided over seven colleges and schools within the main university. We have a satellite office in Ann Arbor Michigan Tech Research
Institute, which does primarily very high level advanced remote sensing. And that’s about a 60 to 70
person operation in Ann Arbor. To refresh, what we’re going
to be talking about today is line five, which traverses
the upper Peninsula, crosses the Straits of
Mackinac and proceeds on down to southeastern Michigan and crosses the St. Clair River at
Port Huron in Sarnia. Very contentious issue, and
I’d like to give you a little bit of history on how we became involved, and how ultimately we’re asked organize Michigan’s universities to
conduct the risk analysis. The history in the Straits
is, we began developing the advanced the underwater
sensing techniques with autonomous underwater
vehicles in order to monitor the Enbridge pipelines and their crossing through the Straits. That developed into real-time
monitoring for the Straits. We added one of our
environmental monitoring buoys. Publicly accessible buoy
that reports every 10 minutes a whole variety of meteorological and oceanographic parameters,
and perhaps most importantly wave heights in the Straits
and the vertical distribution of currents at one meter intervals from the surface to the bottom. Concurrent with that, with the creation of the Great Lakes Research
Center here in 2012, the university added at its own expense, a supercomputing cluster. And essentially, six new faculty hires devoted to water research. The university takes the health of the Great Lakes very seriously. One of those hires was in advanced numerical hydrodynamics modeling. Professor Pengfei Xue is
actually one of the creators in the current most advanced
modeling system, FVCOM, Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model. He was one of the
developers with his time at University of Massachusetts. Those activities proceeded to the point that when the previous
governor of Michigan created The Pipeline
Safety Advisory Board, I was asked to represent Michigan’s 13 public universities and
have a seat on the board. I’d like to tell you a little
bit about each of those three activities however,
that led up to my appointment on the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board. The Autonomous Underwater
Vehicle that we operate in The Straights of Mackinac,
is as it’s name implies fully autonomous. We preprogram it, can send it away for up to eight hours at a time. It’s primary sensor, on
each side of the vehicle is this very high resolution
interferometric sonar system, the Edgetech 2205. You can see the very bottom of the vehicle is also equipped with the
camera and a strobe light. But the main point I’d like
to make is that these lenses on both sides are
depressed from the surface and do not fully cover
underneath the vehicle. And you’ll see that when
I show you some examples. But the vehicle is fully autonomous. We decide on a preprogrammed course. We ask it to fly about two
meters above the bottom, to follow the terrain of the
Straits, and at the place where the Enbridge
pipelines cross the Straits. The maximum water depth is about 240 feet. And we ask it to fly
approximately 18 meters offset from the pipeline to place
the pipeline in the very sweet spot of the sonar images. In the next slide, I’ll show you that. So, the vehicle’s now
lining up on its line. You can see it’s beginning it’s a dive. Once it leaves the
surface, we have absolutely no control over the vehicle. We cannot talk to it. We cannot send it other commands. It travels at about 2 1/2 knots. This is an example of the
imagery, very high resolution side-scan sonar imagery that it produces. The black stripe down the
center is that blind spot directly under the vehicle. the Enbridge pipeline is on the left side of the diagram here, traversing vertically from top to bottom. The pipeline is 20 inches in diameter, and you can see the terrain
being very nicely articulated by the sound image here. This is a pile of dirt
that was placed over top of the pipeline when was
originally placed on the bottom. You can see the excavation
marks here in the center of where that pile of
dirt was obtained from. But what I’d like to really
draw your attention to is, we know the altitude of the vehicle. We know the geometry of
what the pipeline is. So therefore, we can
very accurately measure the altitude of the
pipeline above the bottom, and where this shadow on the
backside of the pipeline, where it leaves the bottom as
it’s doing in this location, that’s an area that has been scoured out. And those change all along the
four miles or so of pipeline that exists under the Straits of Mackinac. So, we can very precisely
measure the unsupported pipeline spans as the
bottom continually changes. And that’s exactly what
we begin doing in 2015. We can create three-dimensional
images from the sonar image. This is a sunken barge here
in the portage waterway, just adjacent to the university, left over from the copper mining industry and it’s three-dimensional representation. We do that for the pipeline. We can tell regulators, Enbridge, what areas at the bottom are eroding. What areas areas are
accreting across the Straits, and what areas need to be
washed in terms of increasing or decreasing span
lengths of the pipeline. And that they respond by adding additional anchoring systems along the pipeline. The second thing we’ve done is
add environmental monitoring to the Straits of Mackinac. And so, one of our
coastal monitoring buoys, this one has been deployed in 2015. It’s owned and operated by Michigan Tech. This website presented here,
takes you to all the buoys that report to Michigan Tech. Each buoy reports every 10
minutes, 24 hours a day. But again, are only available
during the navigation season. They will not survive a Michigan winter. And they will not survive the ice in the Straits of Mackinac. So we pull those out. So there is no, Currently, there is no observations of environmental data, real-time
in the Straits of Mackinac once the buoy is pulled. But we’re working on that
as well, which I will share at the end of the conversation here. One of the important centers on the buoy is a bouy mounted acoustic
Doppler current profiler. This a ADCP monitors the current vector, every one meter below the buoy,
all the way to the bottom. That is presented here
in two slides to come. I forgot to mention here,
that the heavy lifting has been a partnership with
the NOAA lab in Ann Arbor. They accept the mooring
for us in The Straights and do the heavy lifting each
year as one of their vessels is transiting the straits. So, the buoys are about 300, excuse me. About 600 pounds of weight,
and they are anchored on a loose mooring with
a 2000 pound sinker. These are the currents from the ADCP. And this requires a
little bit of explanation. As we move horizontally,
we’re looking at a weeks worth of data. If you look very closely, these
are actually current vectors which would be one meter below
the buoy and all the way down at the bottom, 20 meters below the buoy. Buoy is moored on the north
side of the navigation channel in the Straits in about 100 feet of water. Blowing that up on the left
side, you see each of these really are current vectors. The magnitude of the
current is related up here in the upper right-hand corner
to the speed of the flow. So, the bright orange
colors are greater than 50 centimeters per second or
about greater than a knot. When the vectors are
pointing below the line as they are now, then that’s
flow to the southeast. That’s a lot of lake
Michigan into Lake Huron and similarly when the
vectors are above the line and pointing to the
upper left that is flow to the northwest, out of Lake
Huron into Lake Michigan. And if you go back to
the old assembled data on the right hand side,
you’ll see that about every day and 1/2, that flow
slashes back and forth between flowing into Lake Huron or
flowing into Lake Michigan. You’ll also know that there
are disturbances over here on the right side, that
begin at the surface and propagate downward. There’s also the services
that are on the bottom, is over here on the left
side that propagate upwards. So it is extremely complex
flow in the vertical. There is a late 1600s, I believe 1679 account
by a French fur trader peddling his canoe across
the Straits of Mackinac. Says it’s the most
complicated flow he’s seen anywhere in the world. That it could be flowing into
Lake Michigan horizontally on one side and flowing into
Lake Huron on the other side. Well, we see that. From the buoy data, we
see that same complexity in the vertical as the French
Voyager saw in the horizontal. And again, at the end
here I’d like to share that we are learning that that fur trader was indeed correct. The third thing that brought
our attention to the state, was development of the latest
generation of predictive model for the Great Lakes, which
we’ve done in collaboration with the Ann Arbor NOAA lab. They are running the same
model on their computing system as we are here at Michigan Tech. But the flow is extremely
complex and very dynamic through the Straits of Mackinac. Let me show you an example. I’m gonna start the flow here. But then I’m gonna stop
it as quickly as possible and explain what you’re looking at. So, the red dots are
released at the surface, numerically into the flow. The yellow dots are
released near the bottom. So you’re going to see
the difference between the flow in the surface
water in the Straits versus that of the bottom. In the upper panel, the
red curve of the line, this would be a late summer condition. That’s the temperature profile. Warm water on top, cold
water in the bottom. And the vectors are the
flow that you’ll see, reverses periodically, vertically as we go from the surface to the bottom. So, I’m going to start that. The other point I would like
you to pay attention to, is down at the bottom,
you will see the time go by very quickly. So the point is, flows move very fast in the Straits of Mackinac
in the reverse very quickly, as we saw in the current
reader data, and the model is capturing those dynamics. So we are now about one
day into this simulation. You can see how rapidly the
surface currents are moving, and similarly the bottom currents. You can see that
oscillation back and forth between the Straits. You can see the magnitude of the velocity in the upper panel. So things happen very quickly,
and that has very serious implications to being able
to recover from a spill in the Straits of Mackinac. That brought us to the
independent risk analysis. And the history of that is The Pipeline Safety Advisory Board, we developed two requests
for proposals in May of 2016. One for an independent
alternatives analysis, which is if you’re going to
transport the same amount of oil to market, how
else might you do that or what other routes are available? And an independent risk analysis. Contracts were let to two companies. The alternative analysis was
completed by Dynamic Risk in October of 2017. The risk analysis however,
failed due to a conflict of interest and was terminated
by the state attorney general in the summer of 2017. So essentially, the risk
analysis was a year behind. The alternatives analysis,
the governor suggested to the Pipeline Safety
Advisory Board that I resign my position representing Michigan
universities and organizes those universities to
undertake the risk analysis. And that’s indeed what happened. Pipeline Safety Board,
with the absence of myself, voted unanimously to have that happen. The scope of work for the
project was quite extensive. This is a schematic diagram
of how we see that work flow. It begins with defining
the worst possible, worst case scenario, asking the question, where then does it go? Based on the extent of the
spill, what are the timelines for cleaning that up? And then what is, in the second block, what is the risk to public
health, ecological health and the cost of restoration? And then the final three
sections deal with the damages and assessing the cost
associated with all of those damage and economic losses. We felt, although that’s
extremely comprehensive, there are issues that cut across all of these different areas. We’ve called those broader impacts. And it’s in this area that
we try to address native community concerns over the
pipeline, other issues that cut across all of these different areas. We also implemented, and you’ll
see why in a few moments, a very extensive
geographic information tool that characterizes each
kilometer of shoreline, in terms of its substrate,
it’s type of material, it’s geologic and ecological function. And that is available and still operative as a tool for first
responders, and for the state. The team structure comes
essentially from research ships. And that is my background being a seagoer and ocean engineer. There is a chief scientist on every cruise that is responsible for
the quality of the science. So we have appointed a chief
scientist for each of those ten different areas described
in the previous slide. We also appointed a section
lead for each of those, which again is a subject matter expert in that particular area,
that was it Michigan Tech, so that person can
interface very effectively with all the other
teams on a weekly basis. And then there were three to
five, again, subject matter experts in each area, assigned
to actually do the work with the chief scientists
and the section lead and to result in the final report. So a unique structure. But I think you and that
you’ll see is critical to being able to manage a number
of people involved. The way we proceeded, is
we asked the vice president for research at Michigan
Tech, to send a request to all of 13 Michigan’s
public universities, to their vice president for research, asking for participants. And that effort generated
eight individual responses. The final team ended
up being 41 researches, 20 of which were external
to Michigan Tech. They were from nine
universities, seven of which were Michigan universities. University of Michigan,
Michigan State, Wayne State, Western Michigan, Grand
Valley State University, Oakland University and Michigan Tech. And two outside universities,
North Dakota State University and Loyola University of Chicago. And that was because we
had to do some headhunting to find experts in
petroleum pipeline dynamics outside of our base here in Michigan. There are also three
consultants, part of the project. Two independent contractors
that were former Department of Energy
employees, with great expertise in petroleum pipeline transport. And then again, a very close co-operation with the NOAA laboratory in Ann Arbor, providing their numerical
modeling folks to work directly with our numerical modeling folks. And some good things came
out of the advancements that we are able to make in
the entire Great Lakes’ ability to do forecast circulation
in the Great Lakes. Multidisciplinary areas,
you can read to those. But it’s everything from
human environment on health to as they say, numerical hydrodynamics. So, very broad group of people. And then, an extensive GIS effort, which I’ll describe shortly. We organized ourself, and
the diagram that looks a lot like a clock. And that’s because task A
needed to occur before task B, which needed to occur before task C. So, propagating that to the entire system and having a very short
six month timeframe to complete this analysis,
resulted in a structure where we needed to be
constantly providing input to the letter task based on
where the earlier task were in their development stage. And again, that was part of the reason for having a section lead that was in each section that was at Michigan Tech, where we could exchange that information. In addition, the broader impacts as in, you see kind of encompassing everything across the whole board of activities. So. In summary, the members by
university are presented here. And I think the most
important thing to share, is that no one university
had all the expertise that was required. Michigan Tech came under
contract to the state of Michigan as the lead in December 12th of 2018. All contracts were to
the partner institutions. By the 26th of January,
our contract with the state formally began on the 1st February. We had three. By the 13th of February,
we had three universities with signed contract. By the 21st of February, five universities and by the 29th of March,
all eight universities and the other partners were all signed up. So, it was essentially two
months into the contract before all the universities
were totally on board. This did not hamper the investigation. The researchers all had confidence
in their business offices and began working on February
1st, right at the first day of the contract, with
the hope and conviction that their people would come through. And that really was the case. So, in terms of weeks after the contract, three were signed up in the third week. We had six signed up by the fourth week. And the seventh and the eighth came on in the eighth and ninth week. And again, the smaller
universities seem to be quicker and more agile than the
larger universities, slower to get contracts in place. This is the graph that shows
the distribution of people as a function of each of the
the tasks in the scope of work. And as you see, the people
are distributed throughout the cast in a very diverse way. For example, in terms of
private and public costs, government cost, essentially
they’re distributed over most the universities
that are participating. So, we thought highly qualified experts in each of these various universities. And as I said before, no one university seemed to have enough breadth and depth to have completed this work. Some findings of interest. Task A, identifying and analyzing
the duration and magnitude of a worst-case spill. This was governed in part
by the federal definition. CFR 194.5, defines a
worst-case discharge volume as the largest foreseeable
discharge of oil, including a discharge fire or explosion in adverse weather conditions,
considering the maximum plausible potential release. So, it needs to be the largest,
possible worst-case spill. It needs to be foreseeable
and it needs to be plausible. And you will hear it from
Steve Keck, Sectur Sault at the next webinar. And he has a great
little proverb he told us in our meetings about that. So, I’ll leave that for
him to tell you next time. In going through this
analysis, and working closely with each of the groups,
there is no way to define a single worst-case scenario. The human health group,
obviously, felt the worst-case scenario is one that transports
materials to the most heavily populated area,
which these demonstrates. Similarly, the ecology
folks, worst-case scenario was one that affects the
fisheries, breeding grounds, Waugoshance Point and the
areas of the west Straight. So essentially going into this, we had 10 worst-case scenarios. But then, there is
another big player here, and that is our ability to numerically forecast where things go. So looking at the bottom,
there are essentially worst-case scenarios that were defined by the comparison relations. That is things like the most
shoreline oiled in each lake. The most surface area
covered by floating oil, and the fastest spread of oil. So those are all scenarios that we derive from the numerical analysis. So it’s a very complex process to define the worst-case scenario. So what we did is derived
as many of these scenarios through the entire cost
analysis as possible and impact analysis. Worst-case discharge. Again, plausible and foreseeable. These could be pinhole leaks. And pinhole leaks, again,
are defined in the federal regulations and come primarily
from the high velocity rifle shot that went through
the Alaska pipelines. So, pinhole leak at something on the order of three inches in diameter. Endbridge has automated
systems for valve closers and a whole series of valves
on both sides of the Straits as well is upstream across highway to and downstream on line five. So a individual, it
takes three 1/2 minutes to automatically close those
valves, and that can be done from a number of different locations. And the automated systems
are monitored 24/7. But the operator as a 10 minute window in which to make a decision
as to whether or not this is a real spill or not a spill. And this is a great
improvement over the spill that they had in Kalamazoo. So, if the operator
exercises that 10 minutes of checking other data,
then they have a total of, then the valves will shut
down, not in three 1/2 minutes, but in 13 1/2 minutes. If the operator does not
manually initiate the automated shut down mode within 13 1/2 minutes, it will shut down its own. So, there’s two time frames. There’s 3 1/2 minutes and 13 1/2 minutes. A three 1/2, a three inch pinhole, our first level of failure
is shutting down pipeline in three 1/2 minutes, which
results in 4400 barrels or shutting it down within 13 1/2 minutes, which results in 8600 barrels of oil. Same thing could happen in both pipelines. And the numbers associated with
three a 1/2 minute shutdown and a 13 1/2 minute shutdown
are presented in tier three. Similarly, tier four is a
full rupture of one pipeline, and tier five, a full
rupture of both pipelines. Enbridge supplied in writing to the state, prior to this analysis
starting, that it took two hours to manually shut down the valves. They’ve been refined that to one hour. But again, the analysis
based on the worst-case foreseeable, plausible catastrophe. So again, we used the two
hour worst-case scenario for a single pipeline
rupture of 29,000 barrels, both pipelines ruptures of 58,000 barrels. And then that’s what carried
through the entire analysis. Fate & Transport is
predicting where that 58,000 barrels of oil could go. Model is used, weather
conditions such as windspeed, currents, actual water and
air temperatures, ice cover and then advance the modeling
to include oil weathering and evaporation to simulate
how it would actually move and what quantities would
be at each location. We ran these models for an entire year. The year of choice was 2016,
because weather conditions all around Lake Michigan and
all around the Lake Huron were available at six
hour intervals for 2016. So we use the actual weather
that occurred on both lakes for that entire 365 day period. Simulations show oil dispersal
on the water and in the air, and when and where it
would reach shoreline. We did an analysis of 4380 simulations. That is a simulation every
six hours for 365 days of 2016 at three locations across the Straights. The northern location
and central location, and a southern location of the pipeline, again, chosen to be the
worst possible places to have a break or a pinhole. And that each of those three
locations, every six hours, we released 10,000 particles
from the north one. 10,000 particles from the central one, and 10,000 particles
from the southern one, and then track their
locations, of all 30,000 of those particles were
a total of 60 days, to make sure we accounted for
all their possible locations and where they ended up,
where they went to shore. And I’ll show you some
of those simulations. So in a very extensive
numerical modeling effort. Some sample results. The maximum shoreline oiled in
one spill is 2006 kilometers spread across 514 of the
model’s one kilometer square grids cells, mainly in Lake Huron. The largest area of open water covered was 1745 square kilometers. Lake Huron shoreline was
oiled in more scenarios than Lake Michigan, which
shows the persistence of our primarily westerly
flow of winds in this area, driving flows from the
Straits into Lake Huron. In many scenarios showed
oil reaching both lakes as the two lakes oscillate back and forth, connected at The Straights. Movement of well depends on the weather, and the hours and days
immediately after the spill. Oil could move into one or both lakes. The maximum shoreline
impacted was 1021 kilometers in Lake Michigan, 2006
kilometers to Lake Huron. Volatile organic carbons
would most likely dissipate over the water, limiting
effect on population centers. We then moved. Once knowing where it is, where it goes, how long it takes to clean
up, we then moved into estimating the economic
damages using environmental economists from all across the the base. Recreation and tourism losses
consist of loss of value of recreation users and
loss of income for tourism and the recreation related businesses. Other private costs and
losses, result in impacts on water supplies, impacts
on energy supplies, impacts on property values,
commercial shipping and fishing. The total of all those damages
are almost $1.4 billion when you add ’em up. In addition to that, there
are governmental costs of a worst-case release. And they correspond to responding
to the spill emergency, conducting damage assessments, monitoring cleanup activities, overseeing restoration efforts,
negotiating a settlement with the responsible parties
and lost tax revenues. And again, those who
want to somewhere between 461 to 873 million. There are partial gains, due to income tax paid by the cleanup
workers of 131 million, leaving a net government
cost of somewhere between 300 and $750 million added
to the 1.4 billion before. And then there are intangible losses. There is very strong
opposition from Michigan’s 12th federally recognized Tribal
Nations, their legal rights, economic dependence, cultural
and religious identity, are highly valued. Traditionally, used flora
and fauna for subsistence, cultural purposes, burial
and other sacred sites. And there is a strong bias for litigation, and potentially against the
state is nearly certain. Up to 40% of the oil could be recovered from the water surface. Shoreline cleanup would
take 12 to 24 months. Sensitive and threatened habitats and species would be harmed. With the spring scenario,
expected to result in highest total damages of liability
is estimated at 1.3 billion in economic losses and 500
million in restoration cost, in addition to the liability,
approximately another 200 million in net tax
revenues would be lost. Intangible costs would also be very high. So, not to end on that
extremely negative note, there is some good that has come of this. We have greatly advanced the
State in Numerical Modeling of the Great Lakes. Again, with a very strong
collaboration with NOAA/GLERL. We have just recently
tested high-frequency radar for mapping the currents
in the Straits of Mackinac. And I’ll share some of
that with you very shortly. And then we continue our
work in autonomous underwater and surface vehicles for environmental monitoring and cleanup. So this is one of these
worst-case scenarios from the new advanced model. The particles in turn that we released, the 10,000 particles in this simulation. And this is a worst-case scenario. For maximum impact,
you’ll notice that happens two days after Christmas,
December 27th in 2016. The green particles are
those that are beached in the relative percentages. So again, things move very, very quickly. They are now 24 hours into the simulation. You can see right now, there are 40% of the particles still afloat. 85% have reached the beaches. We keep track of the
latitude and longitude of each one of these
particles, both as it travels across the water, as well as
where it lands on the beach. And that’s the basis for the environmental and all the other cost assessments. Here we are now, 175
hours into the simulation. It’s only 2.3% of the
particles left, still afloat. And the particles in our beach are about, and almost 98% at this point. So things happen extremely fast, as the models are showing us
and our experience shows us. And again, the logistics
associated with tracking this floating oil and trying
to clean it up on water is not to be minimized. Real quickly here, to save plenty of time for questions an interaction,
we just recently, May 20th the 25th,
completed a demonstration of high-frequency radar in
the Straits of Mackinac, which has been funded by a
Great Lakes curing system, part of the Integrated
Ocean Observing System. The Great Lakes are the
only coastline in the US that does not have operational HF radar. Theory being, that HF
radar does not work as well over freshwater as it does over saltwater, due to the electromagnetic
connection between the radio waves in the
water surface waves. But by not working so
well, it works out to about 20 kilometers offshore in the Great Lakes, where it works 200 kilometers offshore in the ocean coast. But for us, particularly
in the Straits of Mackinac being able to map the surface
currents 20 kilometers in either direction, is a big success. So, we’ve been fighting
for a number of years to get this opportunity. HF radar is a bit of a bad name. It does not operate in
the radar frequency band of the electromagnetic spectrum. It’s operating in the FM radio
band at 41 megahertz roughly and very low power systems. This is a 40 watt system. One stationed on each side of the Straits. We have boresighted each of these antennas so that they’re pointing to
the area of most interest, which is directly over
the Enbridge pipeline. And what it does is it, where these two radar beams stationed, one being located at the fork here. Stationed two being
located at Bridgeview Park. Again, both on DNR land. Were those two beams
intersect, one can determine the surface current velocity vector. And again, recall the discussion
with French fur trader about how crazy the circulation can be paddling across the Straits. You see a very strong postal
jet on the south side. And again, responsible
for moving those particles very quickly to the east. We see weaker flows in the center, and a little bit of a
jet on the northern side. These four frames I’m going to
show you, are one hour apart. And we happened to catch
one of those reversals. This is an hour later. This is an hour later than that. You see some of the people
is beginning to reverse, but it’s doing so in a big gyre, a counterclockwise turning gyre. And then an hour later,
everybody’s going the other way. So again, very complex
flows in the horizontal just like we saw in the vertical. But think you might agree, that
if you’re trying to organize oil spill cleanup, very valuable to have. If this system were to
operational, we would have a vector current map like this
for use automatically, instantly available on the
buoy website every 1/2 hour, 24/7 throughout the winter. We’re also working very
closely on the development of further autonomous marine vehicles. This for example is a Co-Worker 5, made by a company called, L3 ASV Global. We believe it to be one of
the very best available, world leaders in autonomous vessels. These muscles can operate for seven days, and 24 hours a day at a speed
of seven knots bottom mapping, pulling oil boom, whatever. Diesel power can be operated
either under supervised economy or fully autonomously. We just demonstrated this
vessel for the governors. Great Lakes Governors
and Premiers in Milwaukee a couple of weeks ago, brought this vessel up from Louisiana. The AIS, you can see it as it designated as an on-demand vehicle. This is an interesting picture. This is in the Inner Harbor of Milwaukee. You can see the ASV Co-Worker 5, working here on an autonomous pattern, being supervised from inside
the Discovery World Ffcility. Sailboat came over to take a look at it. The cruise boat came over
to take a look at it. So again, they have collision avoidance. They know the rules of the road. There really quite
advanced, and I think holds a lot of promise. Our goal is to try and
obtain at least one of these to be shared amongst the Great Lakes universities and other entities. This is a picture of Michigan’s
governor concentrating hard on manually driving the vessel. And thank you again for your attention. Glad to answer questions as they come up. Thanks. – [Mark] This is Mark Breederland again. Thanks so much. That was an excellent
talk on Big Team Science. Fascinating dynamics there. And I wanna introduce Geneva Langeland in our Ann Arbor office,
who’s gonna help facilitate some questions and answers
the people have been typing in the box on
right side of the screen. Geneva. – [Geneva] Great. Thank you, Mark and Guy. Hopefully everybody can hear me now. This is Geneva Langeland. As Mark said, I’m coming in
from Michigan Sea Grant’s Ann Arbor office. And the question answer box
is ready and open for anyone who has comments or feedback or anything that they’d like to ask. We have one question. Which oil spill trajectory
model did you use? Guy. – [Guy] We use what is called, FVCOM. And that stands for Finite
Volume Coastal Ocean Model, developed jointly between
us and the NOAA labs. So it is a new framework of
doing hydrodynamic modeling. It is considered the best available. And in addition to the base model, we added complications of ice,
and did that in a robust way. It’s ice presents not only, does not allow the wind to
couple with the water surface to drive the currents, but
it also modifies the flow because of its presence in
the upper part of the water. And both of those
affects are now included. We added to that, the actual
temperatures throughout that entire year of 2016,
that the oil would be transmitted into. And that affects the rate of
evaporation of those oils. So that has been included
in the modeling now too. So the model is quite robust. And again, we did comparisons
with the buoy data for 2016, and the modeling results track one for one with buoy observations. So, we have a high level of confidence, that we have a very robust model. That model is becoming
operational by NOAA/GLERL for the Straits very shortly. – [Geneva] We have another
question about the challenges of building models and
conducting risk assessments when there are unexpected
events like big severe storms or medium tsunamis. How do we incorporate those into risk assessments and models given
that they are rare events and hard to monitor? – [Guy] Yes, that was the
primary reason for using actual weather that occurred for
an entire year of 2016. So those events, as they occurred in 2016, were incorporated into the model. And again when we asked the computer, what was the conditions
that led to the fastest dispersal of oil, those events
played into that assessment. Similarly, the oil that was
transported the greatest distance or followed the
greatest length of shoreline are the results of those big storms. The one I showed you the example for, with a green and red dots
it’s that happened on the 27th of December, was one of those such events. It was a big storm that happened two days, essentially after Christmas. There was some ice
present, with ice forming. There were sufficient
conditions in the early part of the storm so that no cleanup
operations were possible. So, all of that information,
all that real occurrence was in the analysis that we did. – [Geneva] Thank you. Given that high lake levels
are such a topic of concern across the Great Lakes Basin right now, we have the question, do
lake levels have an influence on oil movement in the model? – [Guy] They do come in a couple of ways. The shallowness of sensitive
areas like marshlands, their nearshore slopes are
about a thousand to one. We had a foot of water
level in the Great Lakes. That intersection of
land and water can move as much as a thousand feet. So, it plays a big role
in terms of where water and land intersect. The other thing that we know happens with rising water levels,
is the storms that bring the precipitation that
ultimately ends up in our high water levels in the Great Lakes, also bring very strong winds. So we’re seeing during
these high water periods, more frequent and more intense storms across the Great Lakes. And again, 2016 was about in the middle of this rise of lake levels. But we continue to see
more frequent storms and stronger storms, larger waves. And again, all that is critical
to the ability to clean up. You may know that Governor
Snyder entered into an agreement with Enbridge that they stop pumping oil through the pipeline anytime the waves are greater than eight feet. That was not based on
stress in the pipeline. It was based on the inability
to clean up oil spills when there are large waves present. So, there is a recognition
that the severe events are having an impact on
the ability to clean up an event such as this. – [Geneva] Thank you. Were any scenarios run on these releases that used less than the 58,000
gallon worst-case scenario? – [Guy] They were all at 58,000. – [Geneva] Were there any
that used less than that? I think that was the question. – [Guy] Oh, I’m sorry. No, they were all at
the maximum worst-case. – [Geneva] Okay, thank you. – [Guy] Maybe, if I could
add one more thing to that. – [Geneva] Certainly. – [Guy] Quantity of oil does
not predict where it will go. So a lesser spill, will
spill oil the same places and the same amount of shoreline. The oil will be just, less thick along those sections of shoreline. So where it goes is controlled
totally by the weather, the currents and the waves
and not by the quantity of the oil, which is
probably what the asker of that question was
really trying to get at. So, my apologies for being
slow on the uptake there. – [Geneva] Nope, you’re fine. Thank you. We have just a few more
minutes left for questions. So if you have other burning
thoughts you’d like to express, please make sure they get into
the question answer box soon. We have a question about
the public and private costs associated with the
damages of an oil spill. Did the analysis take into consideration the potential impact on
tourism, both the impacts that are physically tangible
in areas that are affected by the spill as well is a
negative perception that people might have in the Great Lakes,
because of the spill event? – [Guy] Yes it did. It took both of those into account. – [Geneva] We’ve got a question here. What can you say about the risk assessment in terms of how it did or did
not address the probabilities of a pipeline failure as a
consequence of current shifts on the bottom of the Straits,
from events that may not have been incorporated into the original design of the pipeline? – [Guy] The presumption
for this scope of work that was dictated by the state,
was we assume that the worst case scenario has just
happened, and what is the total impact economically on all the
states and surrounding area. So, the initial assumption
was the worst case scenario, just happened and we go from there. There was no analysis done
by us over anyone else, to my knowledge at this
point, other than the private citizen groups that
have done such analysis, as to what the probability
that certain conditions would cause those types of failures. Up to recently, most people
felt that a severing of both pipelines was a near
implausible possibility. And then, surely a year later,
we have a large commercial vessels dragging an
anchor through the Straits and denting both pipelines. So, what we think is
sometimes not conceivable, really is conceivable. – [Geneva] Very true. We’ve got a question about
drinking water intakes. Did the oil movement in your
simulation affect any public drinking water intakes
in the model scenario? – [Guy] Yes, it did. And again, those costs were
estimated by the economics team. The other factor that was
somewhat surprising to us, is that several of the islands, there are, not commercial intakes, but
the individual private intakes where people acquire their drinking water directly out of the lakes. And again, we went to the
individual property owners and estimated the number of
wells where that happens, or water intakes where that happens. And again, some accounting was made of those impacts as well. So it is not just commercial
municipal intakes, but it’s also private intakes. – [Geneva] Great, thank you. Just another minute,
anybody wants to shoot another question into the box. In the meantime, here’s a more
open-ended one for you, Guy. What do you see as some
of the big conversations that we’ll be having about
all transport in the next five to 10 years that
may be just starting now? What are some of those
coming conversations? – [Guy] I think everyone
is committed to making the Straits and other areas
as straight as possible, as safe as possible. And I think the big impacts will be, how do we make them safer,
and at the same time how do we provide the petroleum? Unfortunately, we’re very much
hooked on it at this point, and we’ll be for the foreseeable future. The alternatives analysis shows that, and other experiences also show
that pipelines are far safer than transporting things,
and transporting petroleum in barges or railroad
cars or down the highway. So, I think the big efforts
will be how do we make pipelines safer in the near term? And that’s what I encourage
people to concentrate on. – [Mark] Well, this is Mark Breederland and it just turned three
o’clock eastern time. So, I just want to
thank again, Dr. Meadows for an awesome talk. Very fascinating. I want to thank all the
people who have joined us and participated in our
first webinar of 2019, hosted by the Great Lakes Sea Grant Crude Oil Transport Network. Again, the recording is
gonna be on the website. And thank you so much
to our team, Ann Arbor. They just did an awesome job
and kinda, doing all the big behind the scenes work
on doing this webinar. So, thanks to everybody for joining in. Have a great day and we’ll
look forward to the next one July 23rd, same time with Stephen Keck from the US Coast Guard. Thanks again.

No Comments

Leave a Reply