CIRFA seminar 13 Oct: Measurement and modeling of the transport and evolution of oil slicks on open water

Date: Thursday 13 October, 14:00-15:00
Venue: CIRFA, Forskningsparken 3, 3rd floor, Tromsø
Presented by: Adjunct Professor Cathleen Jones, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology/UiT

Measurement and modeling of the transport and evolution of oil slicks on open water

Although radar has long been used for mapping the spatial extent of oil slicks, its capability for characterizing oil, e.g., to discriminate thicker from thinner oil or mineral slicks from look-alikes, is far less well defined, with much of the recent research into characterizing properties such as volumetric oil fraction or thickness an outgrowth of the disastrous and chaotic 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  To further study these capabilities under controlled experimental conditions, emulsions of known quantity and water-to-oil ratio, along with a look-alike slick of plant oil, were released in the North Sea during the NOFO Oil-on-Water Exercise in June 2015, and the slicks were tracked using an airborne L-band SAR over a period of eight hours following release. The time series is unique in providing high resolution (1.7 m x 1 m single-look), low noise, full polarization SAR data for tracking the evolution of the slicks’ size, position, and radiometric characteristics over a sufficiently long period for significant transport and weathering to occur.  Here the results for measurement and modeling of the different slicks’ evolution, which occurred naturally under moderate sea state (9-12 m/s wind speed, 2-2.5 m SWH), are presented and compared.

 

From left: Camilla Brekke, Cathleen Jones and Stine Skrunes. Photo: Karine Nigar Aarskog

From left: Camilla Brekke, Cathleen Jones and Stine Skrunes. Photo: Karine Nigar Aarskog

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