Oil Spill Sensitivity
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Oil Spill - Offshore - Summer and Fall; Winter and Spring
Offshore sensitivity was based on biological sensitivity and factors that influence the persistence of oil. The most important elements that control timing, duration and physical location of oil spills offshore are the ice and open water regimes. Oil spilled in landfast or multi-year ice environment is contained within a localized area and isolated from the marine environment until spring. After that, oil will spread to the marine environment by ice break-up, lead formations, or polynya.
The offshore area was divided into four zones during the winter/spring period: polynya, transition, landfast ice and overflooding. The transition ice zone of predominantly first-year ice that extends from the northern boundary of the Bathurst Polynya and the southern boundary of the multi-year ice. Landfast ice is the ice that forms between the shore and sina (ice edge). The overflooding zone refers to coastal areas in Mackenzie Bay, Kugmallit and Wood Bays where the sudden peak flow of relatively warm water leads to overflooding (Dickins et al. 1987).
Oill Spill - Shoreline
Shoreline sensitivity was based on biological sensitivity and factors that influence the persistence of oil such as wave exposure, coastal morphology, substrate and coastal stability. For example, shore zone oil will persist in areas of low wave exposure and low coastal relief (e.g., estuaries, embayments, deltas and inundated tundra) for a longer period than in areas of high wave exposure (e.g., barrier islands and spits).
In addition to shore zone response to spills, the 1 km offshore was classified according to open water and transition. The transition zone is first year ice bounded by the multi-year ice to the north and the open water to the south. In favourable summers, the transition zone will disappear completely until freeze-up in October (Dickins et al. 1987).
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