Oil spills are adverse events that may be very harmful to ecosystems and the food chain. In particular, large sea oil spills are very dramatic occurrences that may affect sea and coastal areas. Hence, the sustainability of oil rig infrastructures and oil transportation via oil tankers is linked to law enforcement based on proper monitoring techniques, which are also fundamental to mitigate the impact of such pollution. In this study, a showcase referring to the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil incident, one of the world’s largest incidental oil pollution event that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 affecting a sea area larger than 10,000 km
, is analyzed using remotely-sensed information collected by Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). Although, operationally, SAR sea oil slick observation is typically accomplished using C-band VV-polarized SAR imagery, during the DWH oil incident, because of their very dense revisit time, even single-polarization X-band COSMO-SkyMed (CSK) SAR measurements were collected. In this study, we exploit, for the first time, incoherent dual co-polarization SAR data collected by the Italian CSK X-band SAR constellation showing the key benefits of HH-VV SAR measurements in observing such a huge oil pollution event, especially in terms of the very dense revisit time offered by the CSK constellation.
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