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Geophysical Monograph Series

 

Keywords

  • Deepwater Horizon oil spill
  • radar remote sensing
  • Louisiana wetland ecosystem
  • UAVSAR
  • POLSAR
  • mineral oil slicks

Index Terms

  • 4275 Oceanography: General: Remote sensing and electromagnetic processes
  • 4251 Oceanography: General: Marine pollution
  • 0497 Biogeosciences: Wetlands
  • 0480 Biogeosciences: Remote sensing

Article

GEOPHYSICAL MONOGRAPH SERIES, VOL. 195, PP. 33-50, 2011

Studies of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill With the UAVSAR Radar

C. E. Jones, B. Minchew, B. Holt, and S. Hensley

On 22–23 June 2010, the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) L band radar imaged the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the effects of oil that was transported within the Gulf of Mexico. We describe the campaign and discuss the unique contributions of the UAVSAR radar to the study of the detection, migration, and impact of oil from the spill. We present an overview of UAVSAR data analyses that support the original science goals of the campaign, namely, (1) algorithm development for oil slick detection and characterization, (2) mapping of oil intrusion into coastal wetlands and intercoastal waterways, and (3) ecosystem impact studies. Our study area focuses on oil-affected wetlands in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. The results indicate that fine resolution, low-noise, L band radar can detect surface oil-on-water with sufficient sensitivity to identify regions in a slick with different types of oil/emulsions and/or oil coverage; identify oil on waters in inland bays and differentiate mixed/weathered oil from fresh oil as it moves into the area; identify areas of potentially impacted wetlands and vegetation in the marshes; and support the crisis response through location of compromised booms and heavily oiled beaches.

Citation: Jones, C. E., B. Minchew, B. Holt, and S. Hensley (2011), Studies of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with the UAVSAR radar, 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. 33–50, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2011GM001113.

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