Share Email Print

Proceedings Paper

Spreading of oil films on the sea surface: radar/optical observations and physical mechanisms
Author(s): Stanislav Ermakov; Ivan Kapustin; Irina Sergievskaya; Jose da Silva
Format Member Price Non-Member Price
PDF $14.40 $18.00
cover GOOD NEWS! Your organization subscribes to the SPIE Digital Library. You may be able to download this paper for free. Check Access

Paper Abstract

Marine slicks are one of the most common features on the sea surface and a significant part of the slicks is a result of accidental or deliberate oil spills. The shape of oil slicks is their important characteristic that can be used to identify the nature of slick signatures in radar or optical images of the sea surface and possibly to describe them quantitatively. Nowadays, however, there is a lack of systematic experiments with slicks, and the very physical mechanisms of slick spreading are still not well understood. This paper presents results of controlled experiments with spills of surfactants, and a possible physical mechanism of slick asymmetry is discussed. Experiments with artificial film slicks were carried out in different environmental conditions: from an Oceanographic Platform on the Black Sea, and from a vessel on the Gorky Water Reservoir. Slick shape and its evolution were studied using photographic methods, and satellite radar imagery. In the satellite experiments surfactants were poured on the surface at certain time intervals before the satellite overpass. It is obtained that film spreading is not axial symmetric, and the spills are stretched along the wind, a long-to-short slick axis ratio weakly depends on spreading time and grows with wind speed. A physical mechanism of slick deformation due to mean surface currents induced by wind waves is proposed. Namely, drift currents induced by oblique propagating surface waves increase in film slicks due to enhanced wave damping and these currents result in reduced spreading rate in the cross wind direction. Theoretical analysis of slick spreading accounting for the effect of surface waves is presented, and theoretical estimates are shown to be consistent with experiment.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 October 2015
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 9638, Remote Sensing of the Ocean, Sea Ice, Coastal Waters, and Large Water Regions 2015, 963807 (14 October 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2195004
Show Author Affiliations
Stanislav Ermakov, Institute of Applied Physics of the RAS (Russian Federation)
Ivan Kapustin, Institute of Applied Physics of the RAS (Russian Federation)
Irina Sergievskaya, Institute of Applied Physics of the RAS (Russian Federation)
Jose da Silva, Univ. do Porto (Portugal)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9638:
Remote Sensing of the Ocean, Sea Ice, Coastal Waters, and Large Water Regions 2015
Charles R. Bostater; Stelios P. Mertikas; Xavier Neyt, Editor(s)

© SPIE. Terms of Use
Back to Top