Some possible trajectories simulated by CMOP of Lagrange Elements released in the South Atlantic Currents during 2019

by Valdir Innocentini and Luís Marton


From August 2019 to January 2020 a large amount of tar balls reached about 2,000 km from the Brazilian Coastline. The origin of the realeased oil and the data are mysterious, as no oil spots have been detected by satellites. 

In this document, some possible trajectories are simulated using the CMOP model to track the movement using the surface current provided by the MERCATOR hydrodynamic model for the period from March 2019 to December 2019.

What is CMOP? 

CMOP stands for coupled model for oil spill prediction. It is a model of transport and fate of oil spill that has been developed at INPE and CLIMATEMPO. A brief description can be found at [1] and [2]. 


1. Backwards – no wind, no wave

The oil is released at 8 points around Praia Bela, in Pitimbu, PB. The simulation is done in reverse, and the oil is released every 1 hour for 72 hours. In the end, we have 584 Lagrangian Elements. The objective is to evaluate the rule of wind and waves in driving the oil path.

2. Backwards – with wind and wave

Identical to the previous, but with waves and winds.

3. Forward from 30 points

This experiment aims to know the trajectory of the oil released at 30 points around the area indicated by the previous experiment (the area from where the oil must be released to reach Praia Bela in Pitimbu, PB).

4. Forward with releases in line 

The oil is drained in 11 points on a line, with a launch every 6 hours for 168 hours. In the end, we have 360 LEs. 

5. Forward with launches in line from 15/May to 15/June

There are 32 points in a row, each point representing a day, the first being on May 15th and the last on June 15th. At each point LEs are released  every 1 hour for 72 hours. In the end we have 23,040 LEs.


  1. Barreto et al. Comparison of the CMOP and OSCAR during the DeepSpill field experiment. Ocean and Coastal Management, 204, 2021.
  2. Seminário: Possíveis Trajetórias de Óleo em 2019 Simuladas pelo CMOP –

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