MODIS True Color Imagery Tracks Oil Spill Coverage

Today’s descending orbit of the NASA Terra satellite tracked across the southwestern corner of Louisiana, providing near-nadir coverage from MODIS coinciding with relatively clear skies in the Gulf of Mexico. In the image below, obtained from the SPoRT web page list of MODIS products, oil from the Deepwater Horizon accident is seen as an arc of milky white and gray, extending from the Mississippi River delta southeastward into the central Gulf of Mexico. The appearance of the oil slick is likely enhanced by reflective characteristics that differ from clearer waters, so that it appears a brighter white in the true color imagery versus the lighter, adjacent region of sun glint.

Natural color imagery from Terra MODIS and the SPoRT web page, depicting the Deepwater Horizon oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

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