The German Operational Monitoring System in the North Sea: Sensors, Methods and Example Data


Operational oil pollution surveillance has been performed in Germany for almost 30 years. Sophisticated state-of-the-art sensors are being used for frequent airborne surveillance, while satellite data are used as prewarning and additional information input on a routine basis. In parallel, basic research on the imaging of marine oil pollution by synthetic aperture radar (SAR) has been performed, and a basic understanding of the imaging of biogenic and anthropogenic marine surface films by active microwave sensors has been developed. In this paper, we provide an overview of the current operational surveillance system, and we give some historical background summarising some of the results of the research conducted during the past decades. Within this chapter, example images from pollution events are given for several sensors. The German coast’s spatial and temporal vulnerability to oil pollution is quantified, and the use of dispersants in a highly vulnerable ecosystem such as the “Wadden Sea” is discussed.
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