Radar Backscatter index for oil spill detection

Hello all,

S1tbx is helping a lot to detect oil spills from SAR images/datasets. In spite of that, controversy rise in discriminating the oils from look alikes. Is there any back scatter index for specific pollutants such as Fuel oils, Diesel oil , crude oils etc., ?
The backscatter index should have the fixed modes of data acquisition(such as mode of polarisation, mode of acquisition, incidence angle, ascending/descending pass etc.,)
You may please suggest other tips, which can be utilized through S1tbx, so that the dark spots can be discriminated .


that would be indeed interesting but you have to consider why these areas are so well visible: The oil makes the water surface very smooth, leading to few to no backscatter to the sensor. I doubt that the type of oil physically makes a difference, especially with spatial resolutions of 10 meters and above.

The other point are false detections. For this purpose, full-polarimetric SAR data have been found useful because they are sometimes able to distinguish the types of backscatter on sea surfaces.


But currently, only ALOS PALSAR, Radarsat, TanDEM-X (experimental modes) and Cosmo SkyMed support quad-pol acquisitions.

Here is a dual-pol based approach:

Thanks ABraun.

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6716971/ - says : Oil Spill Detection in Hybrid-Polarimetric SAR Images: hybrid-polarity is an attractive mode for future SAR-based oil spill monitoring, as it supresses the low-wind look alikes. could you please attach the full text of other (all) documents ?

sorry, I don’t have access to all of them as well. Besides that, uploading copyrighted papers up here would surely get us into trouble :slight_smile:

can we use the SST datasets to discriminate the look alikes ?

Do the sentinel mission acquires the datasets in hybrid polarimetry ?

sea surface temperature? That would mean you need a temperature layer at very high resolution which was acquired exactly at the same time like as of the radar image.
As far as I know, it is only available at a daily base at resolutions of various kilometers. That won’t help much.

Sentinel-1 is Dual-Pol only.

  1. RISAT -1 has the compact polarimetry on transmission. But the return is linearly horizontal and vertical polarised. Will this resolve the discrimination of look alikes and oils.

  2. Do we have any criteria to identify the oceanic fronts ?