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


Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa, 2017, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 193-203

Current capabilities for complex analysis of propagation of oil pollution on the sea surface by example of a ship spill in the Gulf of Lion

O.Yu. Lavrova 1 , K.R. Nazirova 1 , A.Ya. Strochkov 1 
1 Space Research Institute RAS, Moscow, Russia
Accepted: 30.08.2017
DOI: 10.21046/2070-7401-2017-14-4-193-203
In recent years, newly launched satellite sensors have provided data enabling qualitatively higher level of remote sensing of oceanic processes. Better spatial resolution of the data allows examining finer scales down to a few meters; it is now possible to compare radar and optical data obtained almost simultaneously over the same region at close high spatial resolutions; smaller time intervals between data acquisitions allow observing pollution drift and transformation and water dynamics.
This paper presents the results of using three consecutive satellite images captured over the Gulf of Lion in the Mediterranean Sea on the 19th of June 2017 with time intervals of 5 and 7 hours to analyze propagation of oil film occurred on the sea surface due to the discharge of waters contaminated with petroleum products from a ship. The images acquired on the same day presented a unique opportunity to study the spreading and drift of the film in great detail. The effects of wind on the pollution propagation were investigated. It was found that the wind had no effect on the propagation in the immediate region surrounding the source of the spill, near the coastline. The pollutants in this region propagated only by spreading. It was suggested that the effects of wind were partially negated by the coastal counter current. Further out from the coast, the spill patches drifted towards the northwest at an average speed of 15–19 cm/sec, under the influence of a south-southeasterly wind.
Keywords: oil pollution, oil discharge from a ship, wind forcing, oil slicks, spreading of pollution on the sea surface, radar data, visible data, Sentinel 1 SAR-C, Sentinel 2 MSI, Gulf of Lion
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