Team location: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Katrina Laygo (JPL DEVELOP Center Lead)
Dr. Cathleen Jones, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Science Advisor)
Benjamin Holt, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Science Advisor)
Samantha Roth (Fall 2010 Team Member)
Eric Burton (Fall 2010 Team Member)
Abstract: The Gulf Oil Spill released an unprecedented volume of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, which is causing major environmental impacts. The oil reached vast areas of the ocean and numerous ecologically sensitive coastal areas. This project’s research focuses on extending Earth Science research results to The Department of Homeland Security’s decision making systems within the Science and Technology Directorate division, as well as The United States Coast Guard. The scientific goal is to develop methods to better characterize and quickly identify both oil slicks on water and their ecological impact on vegetation from L-band radar returns. This study will provide an innovative analysisthrough a combination of satellite, airborne sensors, and in-situ field surveys to validate oil detection, particularly on vegetation and in small water channels, and is needed to substantiate results in order to characterize oil from the spill. The research results will be utilized for disaster management, monitoring, and mitigation. This paper uses UAVSAR data from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as well as initial hyperspectral data gathered from NASA’s AVIRIS sensor, hyperspectral data from the Galileo Group, and in situ field surveys by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science Mission Directorate of Louisiana wetland sites to validate NASA’s UAVSAR L-band data in the assessment of the impact of the oil spill on these coastal areas. One key measure to assessing the full environmental and societal impacts will be in identifying oil dispersion from the spill as it spreads in the water and on land. Remote sensing radar, which can see below cloud cover, will be instrumental in reaching this goal. NASA funded a campaign to image the Gulf Oil Spill with the UAVSAR L-band synthetic aperture radar. NASA collected data in June 2010, covering the Gulf coastline and several open ocean regions in the Gulf of Mexico.
Download the poster PDF here.
Video transcript available here.