Variance-based sensitivity analysis of oil spill predictions in the Red Sea region

Mohamad Abed El Rahman Hammoud, H. V.R. Mittal, Olivier Le Maître, Ibrahim Hoteit, Omar Knio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


To support accidental spill rapid response efforts, oil spill simulations may generally need to account for uncertainties concerning the nature and properties of the spill, which compound those inherent in model parameterizations. A full detailed account of these sources of uncertainty would however require prohibitive resources needed to sample a large dimensional space. In this work, a variance-based sensitivity analysis is conducted to explore the possibility of restricting a priori the set of uncertain parameters, at least in the context of realistic simulations of oil spills in the Red Sea region spanning a two-week period following the oil release. The evolution of the spill is described using the simulation capabilities of Modelo Hidrodinâmico, driven by high-resolution metocean fields of the Red Sea (RS) was adopted to simulate accidental oil spills in the RS. Eight spill scenarios are considered in the analysis, which are carefully selected to account for the diversity of metocean conditions in the region. Polynomial chaos expansions are employed to propagate parametric uncertainties and efficiently estimate variance-based sensitivities. Attention is focused on integral quantities characterizing the transport, deformation, evaporation and dispersion of the spill. The analysis indicates that variability in these quantities may be suitably captured by restricting the set of uncertain inputs parameters, namely the wind coefficient, interfacial tension, API gravity, and viscosity. Thus, forecast variability and confidence intervals may be reasonably estimated in the corresponding four-dimensional input space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1185106
StatePublished - 2023


  • global sensitivity analysis
  • oil spill
  • parametric uncertainty
  • polynomial chaos expansion
  • Red Sea
  • regularized regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Variance-based sensitivity analysis of oil spill predictions in the Red Sea region'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this