Navigation Links
Envisat monitors oil spill proximity to Loop Current

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.

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.


Contact: Robert Meisner
European Space Agency

Related biology news :

1. Hurricane Ike tracked by ESAs Envisat
2. Webcam from Space: Envisat observing Wilkins Ice Shelf
3. New method monitors critical bacteria in wastewater treatment
4. New method monitors early sign of oxidative stress in cancer
5. Reportlinker Adds Carbon Dioxide Monitors Report
6. Chemist monitors nanotechnologys environmental impact
7. Prolonged respiratory problems for oil spill clean-up volunteers
8. First wind turbines on Galapagos Islands will halve diesel imports, reduce risk of future oil spills
9. Cleaning up oil spills can kill more fish than spills themselves, say Queens biologists
10. Arctic governments and industry still unprepared for oil spills 20 years after Exxon Valdez
11. The Prestige oil spill caused changes in the cell structure of mussels
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Envisat monitors oil spill proximity to Loop Current
(Date:11/9/2015)... , Nov. 9, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... today announced broader entry into the automotive market with ... match the pace of consumer electronics human interface innovation. ... are ideal for the automotive industry and will be ... Europe , Japan ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter ... titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options ... of Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology ... --> --> ... has the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , October 29, 2015 ... authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce ... announces that StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover ... the Wocket® smart wallet on StackSocial for this ... ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... - ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: PLI) (OTCQX: PFSCF) ("ProMetic" ... , President and Chief Executive Officer of ProMetic, will be ... th Annual Healthcare Conference to be held at the ... st , at 8.50am (ET) and ProMetic,s management team ... presentation will be available live via a webcast accessible at ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nev. , Nov. 24, 2015  PDL BioPharma, Inc. ... P. McLaughlin , the company,s president and chief executive officer, ... Healthcare Conference next week in New York City ... occur on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. EST. ... Please connect to the website at least 15 minutes prior ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 According to two new studies, ... This is something that many doctors, scientists, and public health ... remains: with fewer PSA tests being done, will there be ... Dr. David Samadi, "Despite the efforts made in ... the second leading cancer cause of death in men, killing ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... 2015 China Cord Blood Corporation (NYSE: ... of cord blood collection, laboratory testing, hematopoietic stem cell ... preliminary unaudited financial results for the second quarter and ... 2015. --> --> ... for the second quarter of fiscal 2016 increased by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: