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UAVSAR- Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar

Friday, June 19, 2015

Last week on June 10-11, we completed the third phase of the Europe campaign where we flew three sorties out of Stavanger, Norway, to participate in a Norwegian controlled oil spill test in the North Sea.  We acquired L-band polarimetric SAR imagery over small controlled spills of different emulsions to develop and validate a SAR-based capability to accurately measure oil volumetric fraction for future spill response (PI: Cathleen Jones).  Building on previous work in the Gulf Coast, we were able to see the boats participating in the exercise and the released oil slicks on the on-board processed imagery, and to adjust the flight lines in real time during the flight to follow the movement of the slicks at sea.  The four short radar-dark slicks near the top of the attached image (norway-oil-obp.jpg) are the different emulsion releases from an exercise on June 10, while the longer slicks at the bottom are from a release of a much greater volume of oil that occurred on June 9.  The experiment is part of the annual NOFO (the Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies) Oil-On-Water exercise to test new spill remediation equipment.  This year's international participants include Norway, Finland, France, and the USA.  Besides UAVSAR, the French Falcon 20 aircraft operated its airborne SAR (SETHI) in polarimetric X-band and L-band modes and a hyperspectral imager.  Participants from Finland operated a SLAR and a SAR onboard its Dornier 280-212 aircraft.  In addition, satellite imagery from Radarsat2, TerraSAR-X, PALSAR2, and RISAR were acquired on Wednesday, June 10.