This study, which was carried out during 1999-2002, deals with the identification of the environmental sensitivity of the Mediterranean coastline of Israel to marine oil spills. It includes GIS sensitivity mapping and an analysis of the environmental vulnerability of Israel's shoreline resources. The study analyses the main sources of risk for maritime accidents in the southeastern Mediterranean and develops scenarios for possible oil spills incidents, including an analysis of the priorities for protection of the various coastal ecosystems, in an event of a large spill. It describes the morphology of the coastline of Israel, as well as the main hydrographic and meteorological patterns that dominate and control the dynamics of the shorelines, and of potential major oil spills. The study also discusses the different ways in which oil spills may affect natural ecosystems and socio-economic resources along the coastline of Israel. The basic research question of the study was how different geomorphic and land-use types of the Mediterranean shoreline would be affected by large quantities of spilled oil washing ashore from the sea. The study aims at determining the relative sensitivity of different types of shoreline and 'prioritizing' the different types of shoreline and coastal resources to be protected following a large oil spill. The study also aims at presenting the data collected and analyzed to both the scientific and environmental communities, and to the operational national authorities responsible for oil spill preparedness and response, in a clear and useful way. One of the main conclusions of the study is that generally, the sensitivity of the Israeli Mediterranean coastline to oil spills could be considered moderate, compared with other fragile ecosystems. This is mainly because of the morphology of the sandy beaches and the high exposure of most types of beaches to energetic natural cleanup processes. Still, along the southeastern Mediterranean coastline there are ecosystems, habitats, shoreline types and coastal resources that are sensitive to oil spills.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law