Oil Spill Detection Using MODIS and Sentinel-1 Images; A Case Study of Northern Persian Gulf

Document Type : Original Article


1 Prof. of Dep. of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, Shiraz University

2 M.Sc. Student in Dep. of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, Shiraz University


In recent years, maritime and aerial surveillance have become commonplace for marine pollution control; however, these methods alone cannot provide rapid and systematic monitoring due to the limitations of weather conditions, time, and location. In this regard, satellite remote sensing can play an important role in the initial detection and continuous monitoring of oil spills at sea. The synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensor is an active microwave sensing system that can be used for oil spill detection, along with optical sensors such as MODIS, with simultaneous imaging capability. The aim of this study was to detect the oil spills around oil platforms in the northern part of the Persian Gulf on June 15, and 17, 2015, using MODIS thermal infrared imagery and Sentinel-1 images. To estimate the sea surface temperature, the split-window algorithm was applied to band 20 of MODIS. Results showed that the sea surface covered by oil spill has lower temperature than surroundings. For accurate detection of oil slicks and accuracy assessment of the results of applied image processing method on the MODIS data, the Sentinel-1 vertical polarization image and noise removal processes such as filtering and multi-looking were used. Finally, by comparing the field temperature measured by Boushehr marine waveguide and the temperature estimated for the MODIS image, and review of the geographical location of detected oil slicks, the accuracy of the results of this study and the applied image processing methods were confirmed. Application of MODIS band 20 aiming the extraction of sea-surface temperature, and its thermal infrared bands for oil spill detection at sea surface are evaluated in this study for the first time.


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