Skip to Main Content
Within the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, multiplatform synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery is being used to aid post hurricane and postaccident response efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, such as in the case of the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The main areas of interest related to such disasters are the following: (1) to identify oil pipeline leaks and other oil spills at sea and (2) to detect man-made metallic targets over the sea. Within the context of disaster monitoring and response, an innovative processing chain is proposed to observe oil fields (i.e., oil spills and man-made metallic targets) using both Land C-band full-resolution and fully polarimetric SAR data. The processing chain consists of two steps. The first one, based on the standard deviation of the phase difference between the copolarized channels, allows oil monitoring. The second one, based on the different symmetry properties that characterize man made metallic targets and natural distributed ones, allows man made metallic target observation. Experiments, accomplished over single-look complex L-band Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) and C-band RADARSAT-2 fully polarimetric SAR data gathered in the Gulf of Mexico and related to the Deepwater Horizon accident, show the effectiveness of the proposed approach. Furthermore, the proposed approach, being able to process both Land C-band fully polarimetric and full resolution SAR measurements, can take full benefit of both the ALOS PALSAR and RADARSAT-2 missions, and therefore, it allows enhancing the revisit time and coverage which are very critical issues in oil field observation.