The Shell North Sea Gannet Alpha platform oil spill accident occurred on August 10, 2011. This was the largest oil spill accident in United Kingdom waters in the last decade. The spills were observed on four COSMO-SkyMed (CSK) X-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images acquired between August 17 and 22, 2011, with revisit time from 11 h to 3 days between the SAR acquisitions. The areas of oil slicks were extracted from SAR images using an existing image classification and segmentation algorithm. It was found that the oil slicks moved toward the southwest with slick size enlarging from 3.69 to 62.01 km2 in the first 24 h between the first and second SAR acquisitions. We tracked the oil spill trajectories using the General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment (GNOME) oil-drifting model. The 6-hourly surface wind fields from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) reanalysis (ERA) Interim products and the 3-hourly ocean surface current fields from the Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM) global operational model were used to drive the GNOME model. The simulated oil slick movement was in good agreement with that observed by the CSK SAR images. Moreover, the simulation showed that the movement of oil spills was dominated by the surface winds in the North Sea.
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