Poster Session 3, Wednesday,  October  5, 16:00–18:00

Poster 19

Advances in Underwater Autonomous Vehicle Oil Plume Detection Capabilities

Oil spill monitoring below the air-water interface have been vastly improved by advances in submersible optical sensors and vehicle platform technology. Optical techniques using fluorescence, scattering, and holography offer a means to determine dissolved versus droplet fractions, provide oil concentration estimates and serve as proxies for dispersion efficiency. For subsurface spills over large space and time scales, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) can be used to provide subsurface plume footprints and estimate oil concentrations for operational decision-making. Presented here is the development of a Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS (REMUS) AUV equipped with a fluorescence and backscatter SeaOWL UV-A (Oil-in-Water Locator; Sea-Bird Scientific WET Labs Inc.), holographic imager (HoloCam; SeaScan, Inc), video camera, dissolved oxygen sensor, CTD and water/oil discrete sampler. Calibration and validation tests were conducted at the Coastal Response Research Center flume tank (NH, USA). Oil concentration estimates were verified by chemical analysis of hydrocarbons and particle size analysis (LISST 100X, Sequoia Scientific, Inc). Field operational performance of the sensors and vehicle was evaluated at the natural oil seeps off Santa Barbara, CA. Vehicle missions were treated as a mock-oil spill to evaluate time constraints with data processing and dissemination to the incident command data repository. This research demonstrates the forensic value of in situ optical data for improved oil spill surveillance below the air-sea interface.

Robyn Conmy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, [email protected], 0000-0002-0672-1904

Amy Kukulya, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, [email protected]

Devi Sundaravadivelu, Pegasus Technical Services Inc, [email protected]

Alexander Hall, US EPA, [email protected]

Daniel Gomez-Ibanez, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, [email protected]

Nancy Kinner, University of New Hampshire, [email protected]

Lisa Dipinto, NOAA, [email protected]

Dana Tulis, US Coast Guard, [email protected]

George Graettinger, NOAA, [email protected]

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