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Satellite Images Supports Gulf Oil Spill Response and Cleanup

Satellite images support the Gulf of Mexico oil spill response and cleanup with spill mapping including documenting the condition of coastal wetlands before oil landfall. Satellite imagery will assist  response teams in forecasting the trajectory of the oil and in documenting changes in the ecosystem.

Satellites can document the overall extent of the oil but cannot distinguish between the sheen and thick patches. While the sheen represents most of the area of the slick, the majority of the oil is concentrated in the thicker part. Satellite images should be able to identify the thicker parts, helping oil spill responders know where to deploy oil-skimming boats and absorbent booms.

satellite image gulf_mexico_oil_slick geoeye-1

GeoEye-1 Satellite Image of Gulf Oil Spill

(Image Credit: GeoEye)

This half-meter resolution satellite image (above) features a portion of the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. Streaks of oil blown by wind and currents can easily be seen against the darker colored water. The image was taken by the GeoEye-1 satellite from 423 miles in space on April 29, 2010 as it moved from north to south over the United States at a speed of four miles per second.

Transocean Deepwater Horizon Drilling rig oil slick, Gulf of Mex

QuickBird Satellite Image of Gulf Oil Spill

(Image Credit: DigitalGlobe)

wv-2 satellite image gulf oil spill clean up

WorldView-2 Satellite Image of Gulf Oil Spill

(Image Credit: DigitalGlobe)

Researchers also plan to measure changes in vegetation along the coastline and assess where and how oil may be affecting marshes, swamps, bayous, and beaches that are difficult to survey on the ground.

Researchers and scientists will be:

* Collecting satellite imagery to assess the impact on wetlands and coasts
* Developing maps showing NOAA projections of spill trajectory with respect to DOI Lands
* Collecting samples to ascertain source and levels of toxicity to soils and water systems
* Conducting tests to determine cause of mortality of wildlife
* Developing models that depict how local tidal and current conditions will interact with seafloor bathymetry to carry oil over barrier islands
* Providing decision support tools to help DOI land managers mitigate the effects of the oil spill and assist in restoration efforts

worldview-2 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill satellite photo

WorldView-2 Satellite Image of Gulf Oil Spill

(Image Credit: DigitalGlobe)

This is an enhanced satellite image of the oil spill and clean up effort in the Gulf of Mexico.

This image leverages the different sensor bands of the WorldView-2 satellite to highlight the oil and dispersant.

The oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig occurred after an explosion on April 20, 2010 and various methods of containing the oil spill have been developed, including controlled burns, domes over the oil spill, and the use of remotely operated vehicles to manipulate equipment on the sea floor.

To watch a time lapse video of satellite images of the Gulf Oil Spill visit here.

About Satellite Imaging Corporation:

Satellite Imaging Corporation (SIC), a privately held technology company that provides high resolution satellite imagery from satellite sensors such as GeoEye-1, WorldView-2 Worldview-1, QuickBird, IKONOS, SPOT-5 and other remote sensing products for analysis and mapping applications such as Geographic Information System (GIS).

The company specializes in mono and stereo satellite imaging technology producing seamless orthorectified satellite imaging mosaics DEM’s and 3D terrain models for many industries using CAD and GIS applications including engineering and construction, homeland security, defense, intelligence and disaster response using high and medium resolution mono and stereo satellite image data.



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