The efficient and effective cleanup of oiled snow and ice on shorelines or riverbanks requires an understanding of the likely behavior and fate of the oil. Depending on the snow conditions, oil may remain at or near the surface or drain through the snow or into ice cracks. Much of the oil is often hidden from view. The basic principles of snow and ice and oil behavior are relatively well understood. Equations and models are available to estimate rates of infiltration, spreading, migration, or evaporation for oil in snow. There is, however, limited understanding of the mechanics of oil behaviour or transport pathways in snow. Little knowledge exists regarding how oil migrates through a non-uniform snow cover. As a consequence, it is difficult to estimate where the oil might accumulate, a critical question for responders. The few observations published from spills or field experiments indicate that oil transport and migration mechanisms are likely to be complex, particularly if the structure of the snow is not uniform. Snow thickness, snow surface topography, terrain slope, and the presence of ice layers combine with the properties of the oil to create multi-variant scenarios that are not conducive to predictive modeling. Standard techniques that have been developed to systematically describe oiling conditions for shorelines and riverbanks have recently been expanded to take into account situations where oil is spilled on snow- and ice-covered shorelines or riverbanks. This paper presents seven snow and ice categories as an aid to documenting and summarizing shore-zone conditions.

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