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Sensors 2018, 18(2), 641; doi:10.3390/s18020641

Experimental L-Band Airborne SAR for Oil Spill Response at Sea and in Coastal Waters

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 January 2018 / Revised: 10 February 2018 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 22 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Oil Applications)
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Satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is frequently used during oil spill response efforts to identify oil slick extent, but suffers from the major disadvantages of potential long latency between when a spill occurs and when a satellite can image the site and an inability to continuously track the spill as it develops. We show using data acquired with the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle SAR (UAVSAR) instrument how a low noise, high resolution, L-band SAR could be used for oil spill response, with specific examples of tracking slick extent, position and weathering; determining zones of relatively thicker or more emulsified oil within a slick; and identifying oil slicks in coastal areas where look-alikes such as calm waters or biogenic slicks can confound the identification of mineral oil spills. From these key points, the essential features of an airborne SAR system for operational oil spill response are described, and further research needed to determine SAR’s capabilities and limitations in quantifying slick thickness is discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: oil slicks; slick characterization; synthetic aperture radar; UAVSAR oil slicks; slick characterization; synthetic aperture radar; UAVSAR

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Jones, C.E.; Holt, B. Experimental L-Band Airborne SAR for Oil Spill Response at Sea and in Coastal Waters. Sensors 2018, 18, 641.

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