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Improved oil slick detection and classification with polarimetric SAR

Dr. Joaquim Fortuny-Guasch (1)

(1) Joint Research Centre, Via E. Fermi, 1, 21020 Ispra (Va), Italy


The future advent of polarimetric SAR Earth observation platforms (e.g., Radarsat2, Envisat) poses the question whether there will be any improvement in the performance of the oil slick detection and identification schemes. This is seen as an important issue to be addressed now. The assessment of this potential improvement can be done analyzing some existing polarimetric data sets. As an example, some full polarimetric spaceborne acquisitions over various oil slicks took place in 1994 during the NASA/JPL SIR-C/X-SAR Mission. In this poster, the use of the circular polarization coherence and the polarimetric anisotropy as potential indicators of thickness and/or texture changes of the oil film will be addressed. These two measurables have been recently proposed as estimators of terrain surface roughness, therefore their potential use in an oil slick detection and classification scheme needs to be considered. A total of five images with full polarimetric SAR data acquired are used in this study. The study sites included the North Sea, the English Channel, Northern Germany, and the Pantelleria Island in Southern Italy. Preliminary results indicate that the surface roughness is highly correlated with changes in the thickness and/or the texture of the oil layer.


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Full paper


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