Three Months of Oil: Satellites View Gulf Oil Spill
on July 19, 2010
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, triggering the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The MODIS instrument, on board NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites, continues to capture imagery of the region. This short video time series shows a satellite perspective of the spill through July 12, 2010, and updates the earlier NASA video time series released on May 27, 2010. The oil slick appears a dull grayish-beige in the images and changes due in part to to changing weather, ocean currents, and the use of oil dispersing chemicals. The oil slick only appears clearly in MODIS imagery when the sun is a a particular angle in relation to the satellite's position as it orbits over the Gulf. In areas where sunlight reflects off the ocean's surface toward the satellite, oil-slicked water usually looks brighter than cleaner ocean water in the region.Images in the video time series were selected that show the spill most clearly. The full image archive is available on the MODIS Rapid Response web site.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 18.104.22.168.0