Abstract:The paper discusses our studies of oil pollution in the Black and Caspian Seas. The research was based on a multi-sensor approach on satellite survey data. A combined analysis of oil film signatures in satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and optical imagery was performed. Maps of oil spills detected in satellite imagery of the whole aquatic area of the Black Sea and the Middle and the Southern Caspian Sea are created. Areas of the heaviest pollution are outlined. It is shown that the main types of sea surface oil pollution are ship discharges and natural marine hydrocarbon seepages. For each type of pollution and each sea, regions of regular pollution occurrence were determined, polluted areas were estimated, and specific manifestation features were revealed.Long-term observations demonstrate that in recent years, illegal wastewater discharges into the Black Sea have become very common, which raises serious environmental issues. Manifestations of seabed hydrocarbon seepages were also detected in the Black Sea, primarily in its eastern part. The patterns of surface oil pollution of the Caspian Sea differ considerably from those observed in the Black Sea. They are largely determined by presence of big seabed oil and gas deposits. The dependence of surface oil SAR signatures on wind/wave conditions is discussed. The impact of dynamic and circulation processes on oil films drift and spread is investigated. A large amount of the data available allowed us to make some generalizations and obtain statistically significant results on spatial and temporal variability of various surface film manifestations. The examples and numerical data we provide on ship spills and seabed seepages reflect the influence of the pollution on the sea environment.
Abstract:The paper discusses the results of a study of short-period internal waves (IWs) in the Black and Caspian Seas from their surface manifestations in satellite imagery. Since tides are negligible in these seas, they can be considered non-tidal. Consequently, the main generation mechanism of IWs in the ocean-interaction of barotropic tides with bathymetry-is irrelevant. A statistically significant survey of IW occurrences in various regions of the two seas is presented. Detailed maps of spatial distribution of surface manifestations of internal waves (SMIWs) are compiled. Factors facilitating generation of IWs are determined, and a comprehensive discussion of IW generation mechanisms is presented. In the eastern and western coastal zones of the Black Sea, where large rivers disembogue, intrusions of fresh water create hydrological fronts that are able to generate IWs. At the continental shelf edge, on the west and northwest of the Black Sea and near the Crimean Peninsula, IWs are generated primarily due to relaxation of coastal upwelling and inertial oscillations associated with hydrological fronts. In addition, IWs can be formed at sea fronts associated with the passage of cold eddies. In the Caspian Sea, seiches are the main source of the observed IWs.
From January 2009 to April 2012 a satellite survey of the central and southeastern parts of the Baltic Sea was carried out by the Space Radar Laboratory at the Space Research Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). The main attention was focused on the detection of oil pollution as well as biogenic and anthropogenic surfactant films. The basic data are high resolution radar images obtained by advanced synthetic aperture radar (ASAR) on board of the Envisat satellite of the European Space Agency. Remotely sensed data in visual and infrared (IR) bands acquired by sensors MERIS Envisat, MODIS-Terra and -Aqua, and AVHRR NOAA nearly simultaneously with the ASAR images, were processed and analysed in order to facilitate the discrimination between different types of surface pollutants, to understand a comprehensive features of meteorological and hydrodynamic processes in the sea area of investigation, and to reveal factors determining pollutants spread and drift. The regions of the most intense oil pollution are outlined.
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