Science Service System

Summary of Proposal OCE2413

TitleOil spill detection and bathymetry assessment for numerical modeling forecast systems
Investigator Azevedo, Alberto - National Laboratory for Civil Engineering (LNEC), Hydraulics and Environment Department (DHA)
Team Members
Professor da Silva, José - Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto, Geociências, Ambiente e Ordenamento do Território
PhD. Azevedo, Alberto - National Laboratory for Civil Engineering (LNEC), Hydraulics and Environment Department (DHA)
SummaryThe general objectives are: 1) to implement, in an operational approach, the algorithm for segmentation of oil slicks using SAR images, in order to generate the proper initial conditions to activate the oil spill operational model; 2) to improve and implement, in the numerical modeling forecast system, a methodology to retrieve the bathymetry information through the application of an inverse formulation based on the relationship between the wave regime, and respective wave lengths, and the sea bottom; 3) develop a prototype service for bathymetry assessment with SAR imagery, near the surf zones, where in situ soundings are scarce and difficult to obtain due to extreme wave conditions often observed in the Portuguese coast; 4) development of a methodology based on TerraSAR-X images to define the coastline and tidal inlets evolution, comparing the satellite data with LiDAR data in use at LNEC. In a first phase we will assess and evaluate available TerraSAR-X datasets. This will be followed by the implementation of the oil spill detection/segmentation algorithm in the numerical modeling forecast system. This algorithm is based on a K-Means clustering methodology. Alternative methods such as the Otsu’s Threshold method will also be tested and compared in order to develop a more robust oil spill detection application. The oil spill segmentation algorithm will be applied to the maritime traffic corridor region, along the Portuguese coast and Bay of Biscay. Therefore, images from the 6 beam Wide ScanSAR Mode should be requested during the project. Simultaneously, the development/improvement of bathymetry assessment formulation will be performed in order to obtain bathymetric data for the Aveiro coastal region (which is the region of the multibeam bathymetric soundings possessed by LNEC). The bathymetry evaluation will be made in a confined area, of approximately 20 km2, near the Ria de Aveiro region. The methodology will also be tested and validated in other areas of the Portuguese coast such as Obidos Lagoon, Lagoa de Albufeira inlet and Tagus river. We expect to need 50 new Wide ScanSAR images for the Iberian Coast region, and approximately 80 Staring Spotlight images for bathymetry monitoring along the Portuguese shelf with particular emphasis in the Aveiro region. After all calibration and validation procedures we plan to develop a prototype service for the bathymetry assessment based on SAR imagery for several areas of the Portuguese continental coast in order to support the activities of the National Port Authorities. Finally all product and results will be published and disseminated in scientific forums and peer-reviewed journals. The funding for this project is provided by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia through the Post-Doc grant of PI (Ref. SFRH/BPD/73089/2010) and the project PAC:MAN – “Management system of the risk of pollution accidents in coastal areas” (url: and the InterReg Project SPRES – “Oil spill prevention and response at local scales” (url:, funded by the European Union, Atlantic Area Transnational Programme.

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