Satellites Capture Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Spread
According to Associated Press on Monday 17th May 2010, scientists are worried that huge plumes of crude could get caught in a warm current that would carry the mess towards the Florida Keys and beyond, damaging coral reefs and killing wildlife. Once the oil moves into the current loop, it would take ten days to reach the Keys. The current can draw the crude through the Keys and then up to Florida"s Atlantic shores, washing up around Palm Beach.
The response actions to remove the oil spill are still ongoing. According to the RIA-Novosti, "most fantastic ideas are proposed - from a gigantic sarcophagus to a plug made of car tires. However, nothing can now stop the distribution of the oil spill: it enlarged five times for the past few days and if earlier its size was compared to the island of Jamaica, today it is matched in size with a European country, such as Slovakia, for example".
At least 5,000 barrels of oil is getting into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico every day. Operational satellite images of the disaster area can ensure the acquisition of updated and reliable information about the acreage and drift of the spill.
Currently the oil spill is captured both by optical and radar RS satellites: Terra (USA), WorldView-2 (USA), TerraSAR-Х (Germany), RADARSAT-2 (Canada) and others. RADARSAT-1/2 space vehicles, being operated by the Canadian MDA company, ensure the largest possible coverage (300-500km swath width) and a high revisit period. TerraSAR-X satellite (Operator - Infoterra) enables to get radar data of the highest spatial resolution (up to 1m).
WorldView-2 - is the first commercial submeter resolution satellite with 8 spectral bands. First published WorldView-2 color images of the Gulf of Mexico water pollution illustrate the possibility to increase the probability of oil spills detection using a combination of new spectral bands.
Published: Hydro-international.com (http://www.hydro-international.com/news/id3880-Satellites_Capture_Gulf_of_Mexico_Oil_Spill_Spread.html);