By larsas | Tue, 10/25/2022 - 07:41

OpenDrift - ocean trajectory modelling

Emergency preparedness model

OpenDrift ( is a framework for simulating objects drifting in the ocean. It is primarily used to simulate Search and Rescue scenarios (persons, life rafts, boats) as well as oil or fuel in the ocean (from drilling or from leaks).  However, the framework is extremely flexible and is also used for modeling the drift and decay of chemical particles, radio nuclides, biological material (larva, fish eggs) and icebergs.

The search and rescue and oil drift modules are in operational use by the responsible agencies in Norway to aid in emergency responses. The entire operational chain from providing data, simulating the scenario and providing the results to the user is critical and is running with an extremely high level of uptime, reliability and redundancy. Additionally, the meteorologists are trained in running simulations and can provide custom aid to agencies or authorities on demand.

Search and rescue

OpenDrift leeway life-raft example
Figure 1: OpenDrift leeway life-raft example


Oil drift

Figure 2: Mass oil and volume oil versus time, plus state of oil with time (shading) (top). Dynamical Viscostity and Density versus time (middle). Wind speed and current speed versus time (bottom)


Figure 3: Example of drifting oil (oil type: Tau 1999)