Working Group 4
Oil spill monitoring
by remote sensing
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   Oil monitoring
CEARAC Projects Website on oil spill monitoring by RS HAB Reference Database Marine Environmental Watch Project Homepage Ocean Remote Sensing Portal site Cochlodinium Homepage CEARAC Projects

Oil monitoring
Earth Watching. ESA/ESRIN and Eurimage started the Earth Watching project in 1993 for two main reasons: to supply satellite data and pertinent information quickly in cases of natural disasters; and to demonstrate the benefits of remote sensing applications during emergencies, through images and articles. The Earth Watching project aims at stimulating awareness of the potential of remote sensing. From June 1999 the project is supported by ESA/ESRIN directly to provide awareness of the planning activities of the ESA's supported satellite missions and to show information quickly in case of special events. Oil Slicks, offers many illustrative examples of oil spills. Oporto, October 1994, Sea Empress, Wales 1996, North Sea July 1996, Brazil Oil Platform March 2001
J. Lichtenegger. Using ERS-1 SAR images for oil spill surveillance. ERS Data Utilisation Section, ESA/ESRIN, Italy
Torill Hamre has collected some interesting material on oil spills ands natural surface film from SAR.
Oil Spill Public Information Centre
RAMSES (Regional earth observation Application for Mediterranean Sea Emergency Surveillance) has the goal to develop and validate a system for pre-operational distributed oil spill detection and monitoring services based on Earth Observation (EO) products and meteorological/marine forecast geodata. It intends to demonstrate the effectiveness of distributed EO environmental services as well as emphasise the benefits of EO data and geodata in environmental protection activities around the Mediterranean Sea. The RAMSES system is an environmental infrastructure that provides operational services to users for the detection and surveillance of oil slicks in the Mediterranean Sea.
Oil Spill Statistics. Since 1974, the Federation has maintained a database of oil spills from tankers, combined carriers and barges. This covers all accidental spillages except those resulting from acts of war. The database contains information on both the spill itself (amount and type of oil spilt, cause and location) and the vessel involved.
The Exxon Valdez spill from March 23,1989 is the largest ever in the United States, but ranks around 34th largest worldwide. Approximately 200 miles were heavily or moderately oiled. From Bligh Reef the spill stretched 460 miles to the tiny village of Chignik on the Alaska Peninsula. The web site is very comprehensive and is an excellent starting point for student reports on oil spills and pollution.
Sea Empress Oil Spill, Wales. The grounding of the crude oil tanker known as the Sea Empress in February 1996 resulted in the discharge of approximately 72,000 tons of oil into the sea along the coast of South-West Wales. The region is renowned for the beauty and diversity of its coastline. Many important shores suffered severe crude oil pollution.
Sea Empress Peter Dyrynda's site at Swansea University
Torill Hamre has collected some interesting material on oil spills ands natural surface film from SAR.
Currently, a number of projects related to monitoring of marine pollution and water quality are addressing specific observing methods, i.e. how to use satellite data, aircraft sensors, in situ systems, etc. For example, use of satellite data have been or are presently investigated in projects supported by the European Commission, such as HABILE and CLEANSEAS.
DEcision Support for Integrated coastal zone MAnagement. A european project (JRC Joint Research Centre - IMW Inland and Marine Water Institute)
DISMAR - Data Integration System for Marine Pollution and Water Quality
The main challenge for DISMAR is to develop a system that can:
  • provide access to a wide range of data types relevant for the marine environment, both archived and near real-time data;
  • combine observational data with models for improved forecasting and risk assessment;
  • synthesise information from various data sources, sensors and model simulations using state-of-the-art methods such as data fusion;
  • be useful as a decision support and crisis-management system.
European Comission. Joint Research Center. Monitoring, Mapping and Intelligence. Towards operational maritime security EURISY 2003, Vigo, 30 June - 3 July
OILSPILL RESEARCH LINKS Connect to more information about Oilspills
Samuel Almond. The Remote Sensing Of Oil Slicks From Satellite Platforms

New links are added (Dec, 2006)
Global Marine Pollution Information Gateway, 2004
Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Centre (MEMAC)
Marine pollution monitoring from space results from the Clean Seas project
Emergency Response Service of the UNEP-WCMC
Marine SAR Analysis and Interpretation System (MARSAIS)
Oceanides - part of Europe 's Global Monitoring for Environment and Security initiative
Oil Spill Response NOAA Hazardous Materials Response Division (HAZMAT)
Tools and information for emergency responders and planners, and others concerned about the effects of oil and hazardous chemicals in navigable waters and along coastlines. General Information. Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME)
U.S. Energy Information Administration: Persian Gulf Oil Export Fact Sheet

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