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Determining the mixing of oil and sea water using polarimetric synthetic aperture radar

Minchew, Brent (2012) Determining the mixing of oil and sea water using polarimetric synthetic aperture radar. Geophysical Research Letters, 39 . Art No. L16607. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2012GL052304.

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Knowledge of the characteristics of spilled oil in the ocean is important for cleanup operations, predictions of the impact on wildlife, and studies of the nature of the ocean surface and currents. Herein I discuss a method for evaluating the characteristics of oil in a marine environment using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and present a new, simple classification, called the oil/water mixing index (Mdex), to quickly assess the results. I link the Mdex results to the Bonn Agreement for Oil Appearance Codes (BAOAC) for aerial observers and demonstrate the Mdex on Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle SAR (UAVSAR) data collected June 23, 2010 over the former site of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) drilling rig. The Mdex map shows a more heterogeneous oil swath than do radar backscatter images and features within the oil are consistent with features present in previously published, near-coincident optical imagery. The Mdex results indicate that most of the oil near the DWH was mixed with sea water to a minimum depth of a few millimeters, though some areas containing relatively thin films are observed.

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Minchew, Brent0000-0002-5991-3926
Additional Information:© 2012 American Geophysical Union. Received 8 May 2012; revised 15 July 2012; accepted 16 July 2012; published 23 August 2012. I would like to thank Bryan Riel, Cathleen Jones, Ben Holt, and Jakob van Zyl for the many informative discussions on this topic. The raw UAVSAR data were processed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and archived under the name gulfco_14010_10054_100_100623 by the Alaska Satellite Facility. The Editor thanks two anonymous reviewers for their assistance in evaluating this paper.
Subject Keywords:ocean surface; oil spill; polarimetric SAR; surface mixing
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121010-125905183
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Official Citation:Minchew, B. (2012), Determining the mixing of oil and sea water using polarimetric synthetic aperture radar, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L16607, doi:10.1029/2012GL052304.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:34825
Deposited By: Aucoeur Ngo
Deposited On:10 Oct 2012 21:40
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:10

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