ISSN 2070-7401 (Print), ISSN 2411-0280 (Online)
Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa


Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa, 2016, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 97-105

Investigation of geometry of film slicks on the sea surface from satellite radar observations

S.A. Ermakov 1  , O.Yu. Lavrova 2  , I.A. Kapustin 1 , E.V. Makarov 1 , I.A. Sergievskaya 1 
1 Institute of Applied Physics RAS, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
2 Space Research Institute RAS, Moscow, Russia
Accepted: 11.03.2016
DOI: 10.21046/2070-7401-2016-13-3-97-105
It is well known that the shape of marine slicks is one of important signs of pollutant spills on the sea surface. This paper is focused on the analysis of marine slick signatures using data of satellite radar observations of polluting “instant” emissions. It is shown that such slicks are characterized by an elongated shape, and the ratio of longitudinal-to-cross wind slick sizes is obtained to be quite similar for different slicks, i.e. seems to be weakly dependent on film characteristic and the spreading time, but dramatically depends on wind speed. This conclusion is based on histograms of the slick axis ratio values related to gentle and moderate wind conditions, and is consistent with results of our previous field experiments on spreading of films with known physical characteristics. Estimates of the axis ratio are obtained based on a simplified physical model of slick spreading accounting for mean stresses induced by short wind waves due to their damping when propagating into slicks, the stresses result in reduced cross wind film spreading, the theoretically estimated axis ratio values are found to be consistent with observations.
Keywords: surfactants, oil spills, surface waves, gravity-capillary wave, radar remote sensing of sea surface
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