Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Envisat monitors oil spill proximity to Loop Current

Date:
May 5, 2010
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
As fears grow that the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico could soon catch the oil slick and drag it south towards coral reefs in the Florida Keys, scientists are monitoring the situation closely with ESA's Envisat radar data.

In this Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) product for 2 May 2010, advanced processing methods have been performed to display ocean surface roughness variations and Doppler-derived ocean surface radial velocities around the oil spill area in the Gulf of Mexico. As visible, the spill still appears relatively confined around its point of origin and is still north of the Loop Current. An intriguing shape is detected in the image that seems to passively follow the flow derived from the Doppler measurements.
Credit: CLS

As fears grow that the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico could soon catch the oil slick and drag it south towards coral reefs in the Florida Keys, scientists are monitoring the situation closely with ESA's Envisat radar data.

Related Articles


By combining surface roughness and current flow information with Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) data of the spill, SAR image analysts are able to detect the direction in which the spill boundaries can drift.

In these two ASAR images for 29 April and 2 May, advanced processing methods have been performed to display ocean surface roughness variations and Doppler-derived ocean surface radial velocities. Merging this information provides insight into the spatial structure of the spill and its dispersion by the upper ocean turbulent flow.

In the 29 April image, smooth surfaces appear as black patches inside the oil spill and in the very low wind region east of the spill, where the flow analysis is not possible.

As visible in both images, the spill still appears relatively confined around its point of origin and is still north of the Loop Current, a powerful conveyor belt that circulates clockwise around the Gulf toward Florida before being joining the powerful Gulf Stream.

An intriguing shape is detected in the 2 May image that seems to follow passively the flow derived from the Doppler measurements.

The fear is that winds could push the oil slick south until it joins the Loop Current, which would carry the oil towards Florida. If that were to happen, the oil could flow into the Gulf Stream and be carried up to the US East Coast.

"As observed, this does not seem to be the case at the moment as no connection between the spill and the intense current presently occurs," said Dr Bertrand Chapron of IFREMER, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea. "Thanks to systematic Envisat ASAR planning over this area, close monitoring of the situation is ensured as long as there is some wind to contrast the surface roughness."

Dr Chapron and Dr Fabrice Collard of France's CLS (formerly the BOOST Technologies Company) created these products using ASAR in Wide Swath mode. They have been working with radar data for many years and have developed sets of algorithms that allow ASAR data to be processed in near-real time and to produce state-of-the-art ocean parameters. These are made widely available on the SOPRANO ocean products demonstration website developed with ESA.

"The upcoming Sentinel-1 SAR instrument will have an enhanced capability to capture the surface flow information on top of the higher resolution sea surface roughness," Dr Chapron explained. "As demonstrated, these combined products are very promising for strengthening the use of SAR data to help fight oil-spill consequences on coastal zones."

Sentinel-1 is a two-satellite system. The first Sentinel-1 satellite is planned for launch at the end 2012 and will ensure the continuity of SAR data. The second Sentinel-1 satellite is planned for launch in 2014. The fleet of Sentinel satellites is being developed by ESA within the EU's Global Monitoring for Environment and Security initiative.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Envisat monitors oil spill proximity to Loop Current." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100505124159.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2010, May 5). Envisat monitors oil spill proximity to Loop Current. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100505124159.htm
European Space Agency. "Envisat monitors oil spill proximity to Loop Current." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100505124159.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solar Impulse Departs Myanmar for China

Solar Impulse Departs Myanmar for China

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Myanmar&apos;s second biggest city of Mandalay and heads for China&apos;s Chongqing, the fifth flight of a landmark journey to circumnavigate the globe powered solely by the sun. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) In 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled Japan could no longer engage in whaling in the Antarctic, but Japan has plans to return this year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

Newsy (Mar. 29, 2015) A 508-million-year-old arthropod that swam in the Cambrian seas is thought to share a common ancestor with spiders and scorpions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

AFP (Mar. 29, 2015) Vietnam&apos;s drive to become the world&apos;s leading rice exporter is pushing farmers in the fertile Mekong Delta to the brink, say experts, with mounting costs to the environment. Duration: 02:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins