Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence Networked Ocean World (COSEE NOW) developed about the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. If you get a second check out their Powerpoints. They are very informative and educational, and a great resourece. One of the presentations showed a very cool animation created by NOAA's Environmental Visual Laboratory. It shows the daily changes in satellite analysis of surface oil extents from April when the Gulf oil spill first started until July when it was capped.. To view the animation click here. Enjoy!
"It should be noted that the observed extents may in some cases not reflect the actual extents due to the difficultly in identifying oil slicks from space. For instance, medium resolution visible images are taken using sunglint data, whereby the sun’s angle creates a glare off the surface of the ocean. If the glare is not wide enough, not all of the plume will be seen. Oil-like sheens from algal blooms also complicate the matter. Very high resolution visible and synthetic aperture radar satellites also have very narrow swath coverage, so a large plume or patches of oil may extend past the bounds of the sensor’s detection area. For all of these reasons, the analysts at NOAA’s Satellite Analysis Branch must use all of the data available to generate a composite over a 24 hour period. Some days, not enough data is available to generate an accurate extent estimate, so those dates are missing from this time series. In addition, these extents show only the surface oil, not the subsurface plumes."