NOAA`s Office of Response and Restoration

Trajectory Analysis Planner Software


Trajectory Analysis Planner (TAP) is a software tool designed to help answer the crucial question in any Area Contingency Plan: How do I develop a plan that protects my area against likely oil spills?

TAP presents graphical output in five modes:

  • Shoreline Impact Analysis helps to answer: If oil is spilled at a given spot, what shoreline locations are likely to be affected?
  • Response Time Analysis helps you estimate how quickly a response must be mounted at a location of concern to precede the arrival of the oil.
  • Site Oiling Analysis helps you visualize how a location of concern would likely be oiled by a spill at a given location.
  • Threat Zone Analysis helps to answer: Where might a spill occur that could threaten a particular location of concern?
  • Resource Analysis helps you estimate the level of response needed to adequately address impacts of modeled spills and the quantity of a particular resource that could be impacted by given spills.

You use TAP to see the probability that any oil spill will reach a specific segment of shoreline. TAP analyzes statistics from potential spill trajectories generated by the NOAA OR&R oil spill trajectory model, GNOME (General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment). This model predicts how an oil spill will spread and move within a local area. It takes into account:

  • The bathymetry (water depth) and shoreline configuration of a particular body of water, including its channels, bays, and significant rivers.
  • Currents and winds.
  • Shoreline characteristics that determine beaching and refloating of oil.

Then for each season, the model generates 500 individual oil spill trajectories from each of about 200 potential spill locations. The model then compiles statistics for where, when, and how much oil impacts receptor sites into data files for TAP.

TAP displays a map of a specific local area, including a major water body and the adjacent land. The map displays shoreline segments that represent the locations of shoreline resources, such as seabird colonies or marine mammal hauling grounds; sites of particular socioeconomic value, such as tourist beaches or large marinas; or areas where remediation measures would be difficult or expensive. You can use TAP to evaluate the probable threat to any of these sites from an oil spill that originates at any point within the mapped water body.

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