Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Science

First Advisor

Dr. Walid Elshorbagy

Second Advisor

Vijay G Panchang

Third Advisor

Dr. SaifM. AI Ghais


The current study is directed towards the development of oil spill hazard contour maps for the prediction of oil spill travel times and critical wind directions in association with major strategic desalination plants in United Arab Emirates. Five desalination plants in are selected along the UAE coastline to be the potential destination points of oil spill hazards. These plants are AI-Shuwayhat, AI-Mirfa, Umm AINar & Taweelah, Jebel Ali and AI-Layah.

In order to reach the set target, a coastal hydraulics simulation model is employed to adopt the real sea-state dynamic conditions. The hydrodynamic simulated results are tuned and tested against actual documented measurements of tides and currents. The simulated flow pattern of the surface currents produced by the model is also compared with common cited patterns.

Oil spill simulation is then conducted employing the resolved flow field and other hydrodynamic results. The oil spill model parameters are tested to verify their sensitivity for final model setup. A validation of the model performance is also carried out utilizing well documented actual observations of oil spill incidents in the Arabian Gulf. At that stage, the coupled hydrodynamic and oil spill model are set to perform a series of simulations on hypothetical oil spills based on extreme case conditions. The study area is divided into zones covering the oil export loading terminals and the oil tanker routs. The shortest traveling times of the oil spill from various zones to each desalination plant are identified in association with the critical wind directing the oil slick to that plant. At last, the simulated travel times and critical wind directions are used to produce hazard contour maps for shortest arrival times and critical wind directions for the five selected desalination plants.