CSIRO Turns to Satellite Images to Track Oil Slicks

Imagery from the Sentinel satellites is providing CSIRO scientists, like David Blondeau-Patissier and Thomas Schroeder from the CSIRO Coastal Ocean Colour and Radar Sensing team, with the much-needed intel to better detect oil spills.

“Never before in Australia have Earth Observation techniques routinely been used to detect oil spills. However, over the last three years, we have developed an approach, in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Science (DES) Queensland and AMSA, to process all satellite imagery acquired over Australian waters by satellites from the European Space Agency Sentinel missions and analyse them for oil spills,” explains Blondeau-Patissier.

For this research, the team mostly uses Sentinel-1 SAR, a synthetic aperture radar. Images are pre-processed to mask out the land and smooth out the sea surface to provide better visualisation of possible presence of oil.

Schroeder adds, “An oil slick will typically appear black against a clear grey background in a Sentinel-1 SAR image, which is the oil-free seawater. But many features can look like oil spills, such as wind shadows. Several key descriptors, such as the width, length and the shape itself, are signature elements we look for to discriminate what is an oil slick, and what isn’t.”

Read more in Space Connect article. https://www.spaceconnectonline.com.au/operations/4352-csiro-turns-to-satellite-images-to-track-oil-slicks?utm_source=SpaceConnect&utm_campaign=25_05_20&utm_medium=email&utm_content=1&utm_emailID=7b4c7db616168fe865f3a2f96500fa1904548b5145c6ae1709d81f43459c19a2

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