Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Meteorology and Physical Oceanography (Marine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Arthur J. Mariano

Second Committee Member

Donald B. Olson

Third Committee Member

William E. Johns

Fourth Committee Member

Bradford Benggio


A Lagrangian particle based oil transport and weathering model is developed to simulate a continuous surface oil spill in the Florida Straits. The model is initiated at 97 different locations, representative of past and likely future exploratory drilling locations around Cuba’s Economic Zone. Ten day oil trajectories are generated for different seasons, and a hurricane scenario, using leeway-corrected, observed winds, and ocean currents, as well as a multitude of climatologies, and a Markov Lagrangian Stochastic Model. A Monte-Carlo scheme based on an oil half-life of 100 hours is used to parameterize oil weathering processes collectively. Overall, we note a strong seasonal dependence, where Florida is affected most in the summer and Cuba in the winter. Drilling locations at the center of the Straits show the largest impact on Florida O(20%-70%). Cuba is most affected by shoreline locations (30%-80%). A significant amount of oil reaches the Florida coastline within two to ten days. Cuba is potentially affected within hours. Many simulations project impacts in the Florida Keys, and South Florida, between Homestead and West Palm Beach. The north and northwest Cuban shores see the greatest impact. The hurricane simulation shows similar impact for Florida (30%-50%) and localized impact on Cuba.


oil spill modeling; Lagrangian trajectories; Monte-Carlo weathering scheme; Cuban offshore drilling; oil spill in the Florida Straits