JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Review of oil spill remote sensing

Merv Fingas, Carl Brown
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2014 June 15, 83 (1): 9-23
24759508
Remote-sensing for oil spills is reviewed. The use of visible techniques is ubiquitous, however it gives only the same results as visual monitoring. Oil has no particular spectral features that would allow for identification among the many possible background interferences. Cameras are only useful to provide documentation. In daytime oil absorbs light and remits this as thermal energy at temperatures 3-8K above ambient, this is detectable by infrared (IR) cameras. Laser fluorosensors are useful instruments because of their unique capability to identify oil on backgrounds that include water, soil, weeds, ice and snow. They are the only sensor that can positively discriminate oil on most backgrounds. Radar detects oil on water by the fact that oil will dampen water-surface capillary waves under low to moderate wave/wind conditions. Radar offers the only potential for large area searches, day/night and foul weather remote sensing.

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