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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-362
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-362
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 06 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 06 Jan 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Lagrangian Trajectory Modelling for a Person lost at Sea during Adriatic Scirocco Storm of 29 October 2018

Matjaž Ličer1, Solène Estival2, Catalina Reyes-Suarez3, Davide Deponte3, and Anja Fettich4 Matjaž Ličer et al.
  • 1National Institute of Biology, Piran, Slovenia
  • 2École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées, Paris, France
  • 3Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e Geofisica Sperimentale, Sgonico, Italy
  • 4Slovenian Environment Agency, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Abstract. On 29 October 2018 a windsurfer's mast broke about 1 km offshore during a severe Scirocco storm in the Northern Adriatic Sea. He was drifting in severe marine conditions until he eventually beached alive and well in Sistiana (Italy) 24 hours later. We conducted an interview with the survivor to reconstruct his trajectory and to gain insight into his swimming and paddling strategy. We then attempted a Lagrangian simulation of his trajectory in two ways. Firstly by performing a leeway simulation using the OpenDrift tracking code using two object types: Person-in-Water-1 and Person-powered-vessel-2. Secondly, we model the trajectory using our own Lagrangian tracking code FlowTrack. In both cases a high-resolution (1 km) setup of NEMO v3.6 circulation model was employed for the surface current component and a 4.4 km operational setup of the ALADIN atmospheric model was used for wind forcing. OpenDrift yields best results using Person-powered-vessel-2 object type, indicating a relatively broad search and rescue area which covers 45 km2 after six hours and rises to 380 km2 after 24 hours. The simulated most probable SAR area envelops the reconstructed drift trajectory and is also temporaly consistent with the reconstruction. FlowTrack yields a search and rescue area with a comparable lateral extent but with much less downwind spread. While both Lagrangian models were able to envelop the reconstructed drift trajectory during this validation, we recommend using OpenDrift for similar search-and-rescue missions in the future due to its flexibility and drifting object dependent calibration on empirical data.

Matjaž Ličer et al.

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Matjaž Ličer et al.

Matjaž Ličer et al.

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Latest update: 29 May 2020
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Short summary
On 29 October 2018 a windsurfer’s mast broke about 1 km offshore during a severe Scirocco storm in the Northern Adriatic Sea. He was drifting in severe marine conditions until he eventually beached alive and well in Sistiana (Italy) 24 hours later. We conducted an interview with the survivor to reconstruct his trajectory and to gain insight into his swimming and paddling strategy. We simulate his trajectory in several ways and estimate optimal search-and-rescue area for civil rescue response.
On 29 October 2018 a windsurfer’s mast broke about 1 km offshore during a severe Scirocco...
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