Log-cumulants have proven to be an interesting tool for evaluating the statistical properties of potential oil spills in polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data within the common horizontal (H) and vertical (V) polarization basis. The use of first, second, and third order sample log-cumulants has shown potential for evaluating the texture and the statistical distributions, as well as discriminating oil from look-alikes. Log-cumulants are cumulants derived in the log-domain and can be applied to both single-polarization and multipolarization SAR data. This study is the first to investigate the differences between hybrid-polarity (HP) and full-polarimetric (FP) modes based on the sample log-cumulants of various oil slicks and open water from nine Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) scenes acquired off the coast of Norway in 2015.<p> </p>The sample log-cumulants calculated from the HP intensities show similar statistical behavior to the FP ones, resulting in a similar interpretation of the sample log-cumulants from HP and FP. Approximately eight hours after release the sample log-cumulants representing emulsion slicks have become more similar to the open water compared to plant oil. We find that the sample log-cumulants of the various oil slicks and open water varies between the scenes and also between the slicks and open water. This might be due to changes in ocean and wind condition, the initial slick properties, and/or the difference in the weathering process of the oil slicks.
Evolution of the damping ratio for Bragg wavenumbers in the range 32-43 rad/m is evaluated for oil slicks of different composition released in the open ocean and allowed to develop naturally. The study uses quad-polarimetric L-band airborne synthetic aperture radar data acquired over three mineral oil emulsion releases of different, known oil-to-water ratio, and a near-coincident release of 2-ethylhexyl oleate that served as a biogenic look-alike. The experiment occurred during the 2015 Norwegian oil-on-water exercise in the North Sea during a period of relatively high winds (~12 m/s). NASA’s Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) was used to repeatedly image the slicks over a period of eight hours, capturing the slicks’ early development and providing a time series from which to track the evolution of the slicks’ size, position, and radiometric characteristics. Particular emphasis is given in this analysis to identification of zones of higher damping ratio within the slicks (zoning) as potential indicators of thicker oil, and to comparison of the evolution of emulsion and plant oil damping ratios. It was found that all mineral oil slicks initially exhibited zoning apparent in VV, HH, and HV intensities, and that the areas of higher damping ratio persisted the longest for the highest oil content emulsion (80% oil by volume). In contrast, zoning was not unambiguously evident for plant oil at any time from 44 minutes to 8.5 hours after release.