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Geophysical Monograph Series



  • oil spill
  • remote sensing
  • robust satellite techniques
  • optical band
  • near real time

Index Terms

  • 4275 Oceanography: General: Remote sensing and electromagnetic processes
  • 4255 Oceanography: General: Numerical modeling
  • 4262 Oceanography: General: Ocean observing systems
  • 4294 Oceanography: General: Instruments and techniques



A New RST-Based Approach for Continuous Oil Spill Detection in TIR Range: The Case of the Deepwater Horizon Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

C. S. L. Grimaldi

Department of Engineering and Physics of the Environment (DIFA), University of Basilicata, Potenza, Italy

I. Coviello

Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis (IMAA), National Research Council, Tito Scalo, Italy

T. Lacava

N. Pergola

V. Tramutoli

Oil pollution is a threat that increasingly concerns marine/coastal ecosystem. Timely detection and continuous update of information are fundamental to reduce oil spill environmental impact. EOSs, especially meteorological satellites, can be profitably used for a near real time sea monitoring thanks to their high temporal resolution and easy data delivery. In this paper, we present a new algorithm, based on the general Robust Satellite Technique (RST) approach, for automatic near-real-time oil spill detection and continuous monitoring (i.e., in both daytime and nighttime) by using optical data. The new RST scheme has been applied to the analysis of the recent oil spill disaster of the Deepwater Horizon Platform in the Gulf of Mexico. In particular, a dense temporal series of RST-based oil spill maps, obtained by using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer-thermal infrared records acquired in both daytime and nighttime during the 25–29 April 2010 period, are shown and commented. The results seem to confirm the good performance of the proposed approach in automatic detection of oil spill presence with a high level of reliability and sensitivity even in nighttime acquisitions. These achievements confirm the potential of optical data for oil spill detection and monitoring, thus suggesting their use in combination with radar acquisitions toward developing a multiplatform system that is able to furnish detailed and frequent information about oil spill presence and dynamics.

Citation: Grimaldi, C. S. L., I. Coviello, T. Lacava, N. Pergola, and V. Tramutoli (2011), A new RST-based approach for continuous oil spill detection in TIR range: The case of the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico, in Monitoring and Modeling the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: A Record-Breaking Enterprise, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 195, edited by Y. Liu et al., pp. 19–31, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2011GM001105.


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