Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Polarimetric synthetic aperture radar utilized to track oil spills



The continued demand for crude oil and related petroleum products along with the resulting upward spiral of the market price of oil have forced oil exploration and production companies to seek out new reserves farther offshore and in deeper waters. The United States is among the top five nations globally in terms of estimated offshore oil reserves and petroleum production. Yet deepwater drilling to extract these reserves is a major engineering challenge for oil companies. Moreover, such drilling activity also comes with a significant environmental risk, and the extremely high pressures associated with deepwater oil wells mean that the mitigation of accidental releases from a deepwater spill is truly a challenging endeavor.


SAR data were obtained under Science and Operational Applications Research (SOAR) project 6769, “Multi-polarization Approaches for Oil Spills and Vessels Detection in Polarimetric SAR Data.” The views, opinions, and findings contained in this report are those of the authors and should not be construed as an official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or U.S. government position, policy, or decision.