Special Issue "Remote Sensing and Oil Spill Response: Leveraging New Technologies to Safeguard the Environment"
A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2016)
Large oil spills produce massive ecological, economic, and social damage, while more common small oil spills can lead to chronic environmental degradation and health concerns. Traditionally, remote sensing has played a small role in oil spill response, primarily that of detection; however, advances in sensors, algorithms, and computational power are enabling new technologies to play more important roles in oil spill response, monitoring, and mitigation.
This Special Issue seeks remote sensing papers in three focus areas:
- Coastal marine and inland waterway oil spill remote sensing
- Intertidal and terrestrial oil spill remote sensing
- Transitioning from academic oil spill remote sensing to operational applications.
This Special Issue will highlight the potential of oil spill remote sensing, revealed by technological development for novel applications (moving beyond detection), including oil thickness quantification, assessment of mitigation strategy efficacy, and ecological impacts (and recovery) monitoring and assessment. The goal is to present a strategy with a clear potential to exploit existent and quick-response data collections, which can be analyzed and transformed into timely information products, directly useable in the initial response, progressive clean-up, and long-term monitoring.
The extent and persistence of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill provided an unprecedented opportunity for data collection and algorithm development, which generally is not feasible during typical, far-shorter, oil spills. This Special Issue seeks papers that highlight new developments, including those arising from DWH; however, all papers must address (at a minimum in the discussion) application to other, more-typical, oil spills.
All manuscripts are expected to address key remote sensing issues of validation and uncertainty assessment, as well as data analysis approaches. Given that many key oil spill remote sensing datasets are not collected with validation data, manuscripts may satisfy this requirement by discussing such needs. In addition, any important ancillary data must be identified. More prosaically, manuscripts should include a discussion of a general road map to inform the reader how the remote sensing technology studied can be brought into the operational world to improve oil spill response.1. Marine (coastal) and inland waterway oil spill remote sensing
Remote sensing of on-water oil spills are highly challenging due to the fluidity of the water surface, its dependence on meteorology, hydrology/oceanography, chemistry, and the difficulty of working in the marine environment. Traditionally, remote sensing has primarily aided detection, by identifying a contrast in sea surface characteristics, which is inferred due to oil; however, this is largely binary, triggering on thin sheens. This leads to a mismatch with the primary oil spill response need of addressing thick oil slicks. Recently, a range of new technologies has demonstrated capabilities to remote sense oil thickness (qualitatively or quantitatively). Manuscripts responsive to this focus should highlight applications that enable thickness discrimination, effective tracking, are diagnostic, and/or enhance confidence in interpretation by reducing false positives and negatives.
In response to several significant riverine oil spills in recent years, attention has focused on specific response needs for inland waterway spills. Rivers bring unique challenges and opportunities to remote sensing, manuscripts investigating this new concern are requested.
Given the massive challenges associated with Arctic oil spill response (from production or from shipping), manuscripts are strongly encouraged that focus on the application of remote sensing to meet critical oil spill response needs in the harsh Arctic environment, both in this focus area, and in the other focus areas.
2. Terrestrial, intertidal, oil spill remote sensing
Oil is introduced into the terrestrial environment during transport and pipeline failures, and inadvertent releases from offshore activities that wash ashore, as well as onshore extraction activities. Often the terrestrial landscapes affected by the spill are wetlands of numerous types that occupy a variety of morphologies and landforms maintained by a specific set of physical processes. Importantly, the ecological importance and sensitivity of these environments can benefit from remote sensing capabilities that can detect detrimental changes in the oil-exposed wetland flora before irreversible damage occurs.
Manuscripts are sought that address the complexity and sensitivity of these transition land–water zones, which requires special remote sensing capabilities that can track oil movement in convoluted tidal channels and embayment’s and into wetland forests, marshes, beaches, mudflats. Of particular interest are algorithms that provide timely detection. Additionally of interest are oil remote sensing studies of these complex terrestrial ecosystems, which can discriminate between vegetation and oil.
Oil spills resulting from land-based petroleum extraction activities are largely immobile (unlike ocean/river oil spills); however, remote sensing also can play a key role. Although oil near to the source likely is identified quickly, oil, far beyond the sources, can become hidden by the vegetation canopy, making the extent of the spill hard to determine. Investigations reporting on new remote sensing technologies that can respond rapidly to the relatively small-scale terrestrial spills are strongly solicited.
3. Transitioning from academic oil spill remote sensing application to operational
Information during most marine oil spills “ages” rapidly, such that interpretations generally have lost most of their value after half a day. Manuscripts responsive to this focus area are expected to highlight the specific adaptations needed for rapid remote sensing (existing or needed). The key need is for speed over accuracy; however, responders need to have confidence in interpretation including any critical ancillary data needed for interpretation. In addition, manuscripts that focus on the enabling the policies and programmatic structures that can facilitate this transition are strongly encouraged.
Dr. Ira Leifer
Dr. Elijah Ramsey III
Dr. Bill Lehr
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.