Satellite survey of inner seas: Oil pollution in the Black and Caspian Seas

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The paper discusses our studies of oil pollution in the Black and Caspian Seas. The research was based on a multi-sensor approach on satellite survey data. A combined analysis of oil film signatures in satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and optical imagery was performed. Maps of oil spills detected in satellite imagery of the whole aquatic area of the Black Sea and the Middle and the Southern Caspian Sea are created. Areas of the heaviest pollution are outlined. It is shown that the main types of sea surface oil pollution are ship discharges and natural marine hydrocarbon seepages. For each type of pollution and each sea, regions of regular pollution occurrence were determined, polluted areas were estimated, and specific manifestation features were revealed. Long-term observations demonstrate that in recent years, illegal wastewater discharges into the Black Sea have become very common, which raises serious environmental issues. Manifestations of seabed hydrocarbon seepages were also detected in the Black Sea, primarily in its eastern part. The patterns of surface oil pollution of the Caspian Sea differ considerably from those observed in the Black Sea. They are largely determined by presence of big seabed oil and gas deposits. The dependence of surface oil SAR signatures on wind/wave conditions is discussed. The impact of dynamic and circulation processes on oil films drift and spread is investigated. A large amount of the data available allowed us to make some generalizations and obtain statistically significant results on spatial and temporal variability of various surface film manifestations. The examples and numerical data we provide on ship spills and seabed seepages reflect the influence of the pollution on the sea environment.




Mityagina, M., & Lavrova, O. (2016). Satellite survey of inner seas: Oil pollution in the Black and Caspian Seas. Remote Sensing, 8(10).

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