Earth remote sensing satellites of different countries conduct imaging of the oil spill, appeared on April 30 in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the explosion and sinking of the drilling platform. Straight after the disaster satellite assets enabling to detect the oil spill size and configuration, as well as to forecast its distribution and potential impact areas were applied to the monitoring of the consequences.
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 5000 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-? (Germany), RADARSAT-2 (Canada) and others. RADARSAT-1/2 space vehicles, being operated by the Canadian MDA company, ensure the largest possible coverage (300-500 km of swath width) and a high revisit period. TerraSAR-X satellite (Operator – Infoterra) enables to get radar data of the highest spatial resolution (up to 1 m).
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.
In Russia ScanEx Research and Development Center is the official distributor of RADARSAT-2, TerraSAR-? and WorldView-2 data.
— Space is a good helper to enable all the people of the planet to monitor what happens around the world, – said ScanEx General Director Vladimir Gershenzon during the press-conference at the RIA-Novosti “Ecological situation in the Gulf of Mexico: how to prevent such things in Russia?”.