February 19, 2009
Satellite photos used to find oil seeps
U.S. scientists say they have discovered they can use satellite images to detect oil seeping from oil fields beneath the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico.
Chuanmin Hu, an optical oceanographer at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg, and colleagues from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth said they have found they can detect oil seeping naturally from the seafloor by examining satellite images of streaks amid
sun glint -- the reflected sunlight on the ocean's surface.
Hu said the new technique can provide more timely and cost-effective means to survey the ocean for oil seeps, to monitor oil slicks and to differentiate human-induced spills from seeps.
The new technique is reported in the January issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.