Refined analysis of RADARSAT-2 measurements to discriminate two petrogenic oil-slick categories: Seeps versus spills

Gustavo de Araújo Carvalho, Peter J. Minnett, Eduardo Tavares Paes, Fernando Pellon de Miranda, Luiz Landau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Our research focuses on refining the ability to discriminate two petrogenic oil-slick categories: the sea surface expression of naturally-occurring oil seeps andman-made oil spills. For that, a long-term RADARSAT-2 dataset (244 scenes imaged between 2008 and 2012) is analyzed to investigate oil slicks (4562) observed in the Gulf ofMexico (Campeche Bay,Mexico). As the scientific literature on the use of satellite-derivedmeasurements to discriminate the oil-slick category is sparse, our research addresses this gap by extending our previous investigations aimed at discriminating seeps from spills. To reveal hidden traits of the available satellite information and to evaluate an existing Oil-Slick Discrimination Algorithm, distinct processing segments methodically inspect the data at several levels: input data repository, data transformation, attribute selection, and multivariate data analysis. Different attribute selection strategies similarly excel at the seep-spill differentiation. The combination of different Oil-Slick Information Descriptors presents comparable discrimination accuracies. Among 8 non-linear transformations, the Logarithm and Cube Root normalizations disclose the most effective discrimination power of almost 70%. Our refined analysis corroborates and consolidates our earlier findings, providing a firmer basis and useful accuracies of the seep-spill discrimination practice using information acquired with space-borne surveillance systems based on Synthetic Aperture Radars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number153
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 11 2018


  • Campeche Bay
  • Exploratory data analysis
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Man-made oil spills
  • Naturally-occurring oil seeps
  • Oil-slick discrimination algorithm
  • Petrogenic oil-slick category
  • Remote sensing
  • Synthetic aperture radar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


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