Integrated environmental vulnerability to oil spills in sensitive areas

Barbosa Monteiro, Caroline and Haron Oleinik, Phelype and Fagundes Leal, Thalita and Correa Marques, William and Nicolodi, João Luiz and de Carvalho Faria Lima Lopes, Bruna (2020) Integrated environmental vulnerability to oil spills in sensitive areas. Environmental Pollution, 267. 115238. ISSN 0269-7491 (

[thumbnail of Monteiro-etal-EP2020-Integrated-environmental-vulnerability-oil-spills-sensitive-areas]
Text. Filename: Monteiro_etal_EP2020_Integrated_environmental_vulnerability_oil_spills_sensitive_areas.pdf
Accepted Author Manuscript
License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 logo

Download (9MB)| Preview


As the typical range of influence of oil spills surrounds urbanised and economically active areas, it is likely that fragile regions may not be part of the most vulnerable zones. This premise is remediated in this paper with the adoption of a vulnerability approach based on the integration of static and dynamic information, such as oil pollution susceptibility. Susceptibility is a poorly consolidated term and is often used as synonym for environmental sensitivity; it is considered here to be the distribution areas of oil slicks. To test the proposed approach, an integrated estimation of environmental vulnerability is carried out for an environmentally sensitive area in the south of Brazil by merging static data inherent to the medium with information of a dynamic nature related to trajectory, behaviour and the fate of oil at sea. Moreover, the oil pollution intensity and environmental sensitivity data in susceptible areas are addressed. Subsequently, the environmental vulnerability is estimated by integrating hazard maps, concentrations and losses of the mass of the oil slick, oil beaching time and the littoral sensitivity index hierarchy. Results will prove to be useful to highlight critical areas for which the highest levels of severity are expected, which can lead to improvements in decision-making processes to support oil-spill prevention, as well as improve response readiness, especially in developing countries that have historically under-protected their sensitive regions.