The experience acquired in the Prestige crisis management has demonstrated the importance of forecasting oil slick trajectories to plan an effective oil spill response. To have a reliable prediction system, we need to perform a detailed calibration and validation of the oil spill transport model. In this work, the Lagrangian transport model, PICHI, developed by the University of Cantabria during the Prestige accident, is calibrated by means of an automatic calibration methodology. The shuffled complex evolution method, developed by the University of Arizona (SCE-UA), is applied to estimate the optimal coefficients of the model. The calibration of the model has been carried out using 13 buoys deployed in the Bay of Biscay during the Prestige accident as well as coetaneous meteorological and oceanographic data. Moreover, reanalysis data collected in the Spanish ESEOO project framework has also been used. Results suggest that buoys outside the continental slope were mainly driven by wind, whereas ocean currents played an important role in the motion of the buoys located over the continental slope and shelf. According to these findings, the final calibration of the coefficients is performed considering different buoy data. The methodology applied to this broad buoy database, has allowed us to calibrate the model, taking into account the relative importance of the forcings in buoy movement as well as the dynamics associated with each area.
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Vol. 2009 • No. 251