In this study hybrid-polarity (HP) architecture is exploited to observe sea oil slicks. HP features are interpreted in terms of sea surface scattering with or without oil slicks, under low to moderate wind conditions. They are shown to exhibit a different sensitivity with respect to slick-free, weak-damping slick-covered and oil-covered sea surface. This sensitivity is verified against HP measurements obtained transforming actual L- and C-band quad-polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data where both oil slicks and weak-damping look-alikes are present. Experiments demonstrate: a) the remarkable performance of HP features to both observe oil slicks and distinguishing them from weak-damping look-alikes; b) the marginal effect played by the sensor’s noise floor on HP features performance; c) the pronounced sensitivity of the HP features to the damping properties of the surfactants; d) the comparable performance that characterizes polarimetric entropy derived by HP and conventional polarimetric measurements.
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