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State of the Art Satellite and Airborne Marine Oil Spill Remote Sensing: Application to the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

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accurate, quantitative oil assessment at synoptic and operational scales. Although experienced observers are a spill responses mainstay, few trained observers and confounding factors including weather, oil emulsification, and scene illumination geometry present challenges. DWH spill and impact monitoring was aided by extensive airborne and spaceborne passive and active remote sensing. Oil slick thickness and oil-to-water emulsion ratios are key spill response parameters for containmentcleanup and were derived quantitatively for thick 0.1 mm slicks from AVIRIS Airborne VisibleInfrared Imaging Spectrometer data using a spectral library approach based on the shape and depth of near infrared spectral absorption features. MODIS Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer satellite, visible-spectrum broadband data of surface-slick modulation of sunglint reflection allowed extrapolation to the total slick. A multispectral expert system used a neural network approach to provide Rapid Response thickness class maps. Airborne and satellite synthetic aperture radar SAR provides synoptic data under all-sky conditions however, SAR generally cannot discriminate thick 100 m oil slicks from thin sheens to 0.1 m. The UAVSARs Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle SAR significantly greater signal-to-noise ratio and finer spatial resolution allowed successful pattern discrimination related to a combination of oil slick thickness, fractional surface coverage, and emulsification. In situ burning and smoke plumes were studied with AVIRIS and corroborated spaceborne CALIPSO Cloud Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation observations of combustion aerosols. CALIPSO and bathymetry lidar data documented shallow subsurface oil, although ancillary data were required for confirmation. Airborne hyperspectral, thermal infrared data have nighttime and overcast collection advantages and were collected as well as MODIS thermal data.

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  • Target Direction, Range and Position Finding
  • Optics
  • Unmanned Spacecraft
  • Water Pollution and Control

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