Predictions for oil slicks detected from satellite images using MyOcean forecasting data
Abstract. The pan-European capacity for the Ocean Monitoring and Forecasting (MyOcean) Marine Core Service, implementing the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) objectives, targets the provision of ocean state observations from various platforms and analysis and forecasting products to assist, among other downscaling activities, the needs of the operational response to marine safety, particularly concerning oil spills. The MEDSLIK oil spill and trajectory prediction system makes use of the MyOcean regional and Cyprus Coastal Ocean Forecasting and Observing System (CYCOFOS) downscaled forecasting products for operational application in the Mediterranean and pre-operational use in the Black Sea. Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) satellite remote sensing images from the European Space Agency (ESA) and European Maritime Safety Agency CleanSeaNet (EMSA-CSN) provide the means for routine monitoring of the southern European seas for the detection of illegal oil discharges. MEDSLIK offers various ways, to be described in this paper, of coupling the MyOcean forecasting data with ASAR images to provide both forecasts and hindcasts for such remotely observed oil slicks. The main concern will be the drift of the oil slick and also, in the case of the forecast mode, its diffusive spreading, although some attempt is also made to estimate the changes in the state of the oil. The successful link of the satellite-detected oil slicks with their operational predictions using the MyOcean products contributes to the operational response chain and the strengthening of maritime safety for accidental or illegal spills, in implementation of the Mediterranean Decision Support System for Marine Safety (MEDESS-4MS) regarding oil spills.