Article

Remote sensing for the oil in ice joint industry program 2007-2009

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Abstract

This paper summarizes the different Oil in Ice Joint Industry Program (JIP) remote sensing activities carried out from 2007 to 2009, including: technology review and selection, airborne systems, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite imagery, trained dogs, and airborne Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). A key finding is that flexible combinations of sensors operating from a variety of platforms are required to cover a range of oil in ice scenarios. Based on a combination of field data collected during the JIP and knowledge of sensor capabilities demonstrated in previous open water spills, the project concluded that the most useful remote sensing systems for spills in ice are expected to be: Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) for oil on the surface in a broad range of ice concentrations, Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) and/or SAR for slicks on the water in very open ice covers, trained dogs on solid ice, and GPR for oil under snow or trapped in the ice. Detecting isolated oil patches among closely packed floes (>6/10) is a major challenge with any current remote sensing system, especially during periods of darkness, low clouds or fog. The most effective solution to this problem is to deploy closely spaced GPS tracking buoys to follow the ice and the oil. Arctic spill contingency plans need to account for the operational constraints of: aircraft and helicopter endurance, weather, and the potential for competing demands on limited remote sensing resources.

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