Investigating the effect of oil spills
on the environment and public health.
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Funding Source: Year One Block Grant - Florida Institute of Oceanography

Project Overview

Coast Watch: Remote Sensing and Verification Sampling of Oil Spill Impact on Florida Coast

Principal Investigator
Florida State University
Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science
Member Institutions
Florida State University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, University of West Florida, Virginia Institute of Marine Science


As oil continues to make landfall along the NE Gulf of Mexico coast, there is an immediate and ongoing need for accurate assessment of landfall and landfall prediction. This project is proposed as collaboration between FSU and UWF, but intends to coordinate closely with coastal sampling operations on the Gulf coast. Where oil reaches the coast, first order measurements and sampling is required to document scale and intensity of impact. 

The group will coordinate three basic deliverables:

  1. Conduct sea-level sampling and analysis of the oil and water column to provide regular ground truth for the remote sensing and NRDA level demonstration of oil properties, distribution, and impact.
  2. Compile continuing remote sensing detection of probable hydrocarbon signals in satellite images, with a focus on the Florida coastline using Texture Classifying Neural Network Algorithms and related image processing methods.
  3. Coordinate basic lea-level observation by research vessels and responder vessels operating in the offshore spill area.  Results of the ground-truthed remote sensing assessment will be shared with modeling efforts being conducted by relevant institutions (e.g. COAPS, Univ. S. Florida). 

Coastal hydrocarbon surveys will be conducted from three locations long the coast.  The sampling results will document impact levels for future damage and impact assessment.

This research was made possible by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.