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Slick Thickness Characterization Based on Low Noise, Polarized Synthetic Aperture Radar

Project Number
Progress Date
Performing Activity
NASA Jet Propulsion Labroratory
Principal Investigator
Dr. Cathleen Jones
Contract Award Value
Estimated Completion Date

The project team will use radar technology instead of optical or infrared methods in order to enable 24-hour, weather independent operation that can be deployed in inclement or difficult to access environments, and reduce dependence upon on-site personnel. The team will evaluate the capability of low noise L-band (1.26 GHz) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery acquired by the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) sensor.
The goal is to determine how accurately slick thickness can be determined from SAR, including the extent to which weather conditions change the SAR backscatter and affect the parameters used to determine the oil thickness and fraction. The project will also determine whether and what calibration data are needed for the SAR thickness determination, including how changes in wind condition will alter the measurements and whether recalibration will be needed.

Latest progress update

The following tasks are in progress:
- Flight planning, coordination, in-flight science oversight and direction for UAVSAR participation at Ohmsett and Santa Barbara Seeps.
- Additional analysis of new UAVSAR data to establish a calibration method for the relative thickness to a standard slick thickness scale (e.g., Bonn agreement).
- Demonstrate and evaluate the calibration of the relative thickness.
- Develop an automatic or semi-automatable algorithm to determine relative slick thickness from SAR.

In Progress