Tar pollution event (2021) at the Southeastern Levantine oligotrophic basin, short-term impacts and operational oceanography perspectives

B. Herut, R. Goldman, T. Ozer, A. Lazar, E. Biton, I. Gertman, J. Silverman, Y. Segal, G. Sisma-Ventura, Y. Gertner, M. Rubin-Blum, N. Belkin, E. Rahav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Levantine basin (LB) in the Southeastern Mediterranean Sea is a high-risk oil pollution hot spot owing to its dense maritime traffic and intense oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities. In February 2021 the Israeli LB shorelines were impacted by an exceptional tar pollution event (~550 tons; average distribution: ~3 kg tar m−1 front beach) of an unknown oil spill source. Here we report on the immediate numerical modelling assessment of the oil spill propagation and tar distribution; operational use of underwater gliders for tracking water column anomalies of dissolved polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and turbidity signals; the beached tar composition and amounts and the short-term response of the microbial population along the ~180 km shoreline. This pollution event emphasizes the need for improving the early warning systems for oil spills and implementing continuous operational monitoring at high-risk, ecologically sensitive and valuable resource areas like the Israeli LB waters.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number115892
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume198
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Glider
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Oil spill
  • PAHs
  • Pollution
  • Tar balls

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography

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