A study on sea oil slick observation by means of L-band polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data is accomplished. It is based on different sea surface scattering mechanism expected with and without surface slicks. Polarimetric measurements are processed by means of a simple and very effective filtering technique which is electromagnetically based on the Mueller scattering matrix. Moreover, some polarimetric features, evaluated on both slick-free and slick-covered sea surfaces, are analyzed for confirming the filter output. Experiments are accomplished on the polarimetric SAR data acquired by the Phased Array-type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) sensor, mounted on board of the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS), and are relevant to oil slick, due to a tank accident, and look-alikes. Results demonstrate for the first time that L-band polarimetric SAR measurements are useful for oil slick observation purposes and witness the capability of the ALOS PALSAR data for such application.
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