Title: Application of CDOM optical properties for tracing natural and manmade surface slicks
Researchers: Monica Mullins, Prof. Peter Croot
A key challenge facing the maritime industry at present is developing the capability to distinguish in real time, maritime accidents from naturally occurring phenomena such as phytoplankton blooms and natural oil seeps. The ability to correctly determine the nature of the observed surface slick will facilitate applications in maritime safety, oil exploration, harmful algal blooms/ecosystem services and other marine based activities. This project aims to link detection and monitoring of these natural and manmade surface slicks using satellite based observations incorporating the new ESA sentinel series of satellites. For example, the Sentinel 1 satellites, incorporating SAR bands, allow for the determination of surface slicks even under the cloudy conditions typically found along the Irish west coast. However SAR by itself is unlikely to accurately predict the nature of the observed slick and so predictive assessments will be made by combining SAR with ocean colour (Sentinel 3) and scatterometer winds (Sentinel 1).
Aims and Objectives: 1) To determine a set of criteria for GES with regard to the optical properties of seawater. 2) To identify CDOM components produced by natural blooms of phytoplankton in Irish waters. 3) Develop a spectral library of the optical properties of common maritime pollutants in seawater. 4) To develop an informed data analysis system for the identification of surface slicks from satellite data drawing on the information above.