Articles | Volume 11, issue 5
Research article
09 May 2011
Research article |  | 09 May 2011

An improved RST approach for timely alert and Near Real Time monitoring of oil spill disasters by using AVHRR data

C. S. L. Grimaldi, D. Casciello, I. Coviello, T. Lacava, N. Pergola, and V. Tramutoli

Abstract. Information acquired and provided in Near Real Time is fundamental in contributing to reduce the impact of different sea pollution sources on the maritime environment. Optical data acquired by sensors aboard meteorological satellites, thanks to their high temporal resolution as well as to their delivery policy, can be profitably used for a Near Real Time sea monitoring, provided that accurate and reliable methodologies for analysis and investigation are designed, implemented and fully assessed.

In this paper, the results achieved by the application of an improved version of RST (Robust Satellite Technique) to oil spill detection and monitoring will be shown. In particular, thermal infrared data acquired by the NOAA-AVHRR (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) have been analyzed and a new RST-based change detection index applied to the case of the oil spills that occurred off the Kuwait and Saudi Arabian coasts in January 1991 and during the Lebanon War in July 2006.

The results obtained, even in comparison with those achieved by other AVHRR-based techniques, confirm the unique performance of the proposed approach in automatically detecting the presence of oil spill with a high level of reliability and sensitivity. Moreover, the potential of the extension of the proposed technique to sensors onboard geostationary satellites will be discussed within the context of oil spill monitoring systems, integrating products generated by high temporal (optical) and high spatial (radar) resolution satellite systems.