Earlier this year, the Sanchi oil tanker collided with the cargo Crystal about 300 km off the coast of Shanghai in the East China Sea. Tragically, the vessel caught fire during the collision, and claimed the lives of all 32 crew members aboard the Sanchi. The crash spilled the tanker’s oil products, which spread into the ocean, where the strong winds and flow of the Kuroshio Current dragged the oil spills along its flow toward the Japanese Islands.
Using satellite imagery and SAR (data source Copernicus & Aviso, analysis performed by CLS), the oil spill contours were detected in the visible range. The Finite Size Lyapunov Exponents (FSLE) provide the exponential separation rate for particle trajectories that were initialized nearby by altimetry velocities. As the video below shows, high resolution FSLE are computed at 2 km resolution from optimized multi-mission altimetry maps. When FSLE and the oil spill contours are superimposed, you start to notice an observable consistency between the path and shape of an oil spill and position of the strong stretching areas underlined by FSLE values far from zero.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense