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Office of Response and Restoration, 2023: GOM WM OST 20161116,

Item Identification

Title: GOM WM OST 20161116
Status: In Work
Creation Date: 2016-11-16
Revision Date: Unknown
Publication Date: 2019-08-16

These data were collected as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric’s (NOAA) DWH Lessons Learned Studies: Detection of Oil Thickness and Emulsion Mixtures using Remote Sensing Platforms study on methods to estimate oil slick coverage and thickness. The Team developed methods for synoptic collection of satellite imagery, airborne imagery, surface oil characterization, oil and water chemistry, and subsurface oil slick data at both the Oil and Hazardous Materials Simulated Environmental Test Tank (Ohmsett) and the Mississippi Canyon lease block #20 (MC20), which has experienced an ongoing chronic oil discharge since 2004. Data shown here in NOAA’s Environmental Response Management Applications (ERMA) are part of the MC20 field research undertaken in 2016, 2017, and 2018. This research was primarily funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and the Oil Spill Preparedness Division through Interagency Agreement E16PG00023 with the U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA.


The primary objective of this research was to compare the ability of multiple remote sensing platforms to detect and quantify surface oil, and verify that anomalies identified in remote sensing images corresponded with oil slick features that could be observed and quantified in situ. This research was organized into 3 phases:

Phase 1: Characterized the detection of known oil thicknesses and oil-emulsions in a controlled environment, by performing multiple tests and calibrations for thermal, optical, and microwave sensors at the National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility (Ohmsett) which is located at the Naval Weapons Station Earle Waterfront in Leonardo, New Jersey. Controlled experiments took place during July 2016.

Phase 2: Measured the open water oil thicknesses and oil-emulsions at the damaged Taylor Energy well field surface oiling site (MC20) by performing multiple tests and calibrations for thermal, optical and microwave sensors. Data were collected in November 2016, April 2017, and August 2017.

Phase 3: Developed operational methods and procedures for processing and interpreting each of the sensors products used during the experiments for future emergency operations.

The objective of synoptic sampling at MC20 was to provide data and observations on the water that verified (ground-truth) remote sensing data. The Team attempted to collect as much multi-platform and sensor data as was practicable while scheduling field sampling events to coincide with satellite collections. The Team also collected imagery from Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and as many as four separate fixed-wing aircraft timed to these collections. These data were collected by multiple researchers from NOAA, Ocean Imaging Corp., Water Mapping LLC, University of North Texas (UNT), EPA, WHOI, Fototerra Aerial Survey LLC, and others. A total of 5 different data types are shown here in ERMA: in situ sampling, ship/flight trackline and photos, imagery, oil characterization, and oil on water samples. Summaries of the data collection methods are included below.

Supplemental Information:

The primary purpose of the in situ sampling at the Ohmsett facility and at the MC20 site was to develop methods for characterizing slick thickness and calibrating remote sensing data. Since oil is inherently heterogeneous on any scale, many thickness samples are required to provide the range of oil thicknesses over a given area. NOAA tested three different methods for measuring the thickness of oil slicks or sheens: the dip plate, the sorbent pad, and the Water Mapping sampler. The three methods tested as part of this research have different advantages and disadvantages:

The dip plate method of measuring thickness is fast and inexpensive; however, the method has a limited range of thicknesses for which it is accurate.

The sorbent pad method of measuring thickness provides the most accurate estimate of slick thickness for thin sheens. It is less accurate in thicker oil, and the need for laboratory analysis of the pads makes it relatively slow and expensive to obtain data.

The Water Mapping method is the most accurate of the three methods. However, sampling using this method is time-consuming, as the sampler can collect only one sample covering a small area, and each sample requires the addition of a solvent, a photograph in a controlled setting, and a manual pixel-based measurement to measure thickness.


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Data Center Keywords
DOC/NOAA/NOS/ORR > Office of Response and Restoration, National Ocean Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Service Keywords

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords

Platform Keywords

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Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Platform Keywords
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Platform Keywords
UAV > Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Data Set Type: GIS Files
Maintenance Frequency: As Needed
Data Presentation Form: Map (digital)
Distribution Liability:

While NOAA makes every effort to ensure that its databases are error-free, errors do occur. We ask that you notify us immediately of any errors that you discover in our data. We will make every effort to correct them. With respect to documents available from this server, neither the United States Government nor any of its employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose; nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed; nor represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 877671
Date Effective From: 2016-11-16
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): Office of Response and Restoration (ORR)
Address: 1305 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
URL: ORR Home Page


CC ID: 877668
Date Effective From: 2016-11-16
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): Office of Response and Restoration (ORR)
Address: 1305 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
URL: ORR Home Page

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 877670
Date Effective From: 2016-11-16
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): Office of Response and Restoration (ORR)
Address: 1305 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
URL: ORR Home Page


CC ID: 877669
Date Effective From: 2016-11-16
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): Water Mapping
Email Address:
URL: home page


Currentness Reference: Ground Condition

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 877681
W° Bound: -88.9929892528
E° Bound: -88.9593705919
N° Bound: 28.9526951363
S° Bound: 28.9237027363

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 877680
Time Frame Type: Discrete
Start: 2016-11-16

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Constraints:

These data may be provisional and restricted to Trustees within a Natural Resource Damage Assessment.

Data Use Constraints:

The user is responsible for the results of any application of this data for other than its intended purpose.

Metadata Access Constraints:

These metadata may be provisional and restricted to Trustees within a Natural Resource Damage Assessment.

Metadata Use Constraints:

The user is responsible for the results of any application of this metadata for other than its intended purpose.

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 877672
Start Date: 2016-11-16
End Date: Present
Download URL:
Distributor: Office of Response and Restoration (ORR) (2016-11-16 - Present)
File Name: OST_20161116
File Date/Time: 2016-11-16 00:00:00
File Type (Deprecated): Zip
Compression: Zip
Review Status: Not Chked



CC ID: 877673
Name: Visual representation of GIS data
URL Type:
Online Resource
File Resource Format: Web

Data Quality

Analytical Accuracy:

When measuring slicks side-by-side in a controlled laboratory environment, we found that all three methods accurately and precisely measured slick thickness within a factor of two.

However, when we used these methods at the Ohmsett facility or in the field, we frequently had thickness measurements that varied by 1–2 orders of magnitude despite being collected at the same time and place. The variability seen in these measurements likely represents the patchiness of the slick being sampled (see, for example, Figure 3.24). The wide range of in situ measurements at coincident locations complicates defining a single slick thickness for a specific location.

Data Management

Approximate Percentage of Budget for these Data Devoted to Data Management: Unknown
Do these Data Comply with the Data Access Directive?: No
Is Access to the Data Limited Based on an Approved Waiver?: No
Actual or Planned Long-Term Data Archive Location: To Be Determined
If To Be Determined, Unable to Archive, or No Archiving Intended, Explain:



Lineage Statement:

The Spatial Data Branch publishes this data on behalf of the originator. Data visually represented in ERMA are aimed to guide responders, decision makers, and users in making informed steps of analysis and action.


NOAA Methods Development

CC ID: 877677
Contact Role Type: Publisher
Contact Type: Organization
Contact Name: NOAA/NOS/ORR/ARD/SDB - Assessment and Restoration Division/Spatial Data Branch
Publish Date: 2019-08-16
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 2016-11-16

Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 877678

Thickness data were collected in the field.

Dip plates were weighed in the field and recorded in spreadsheets. Data was ingested into DIVER.

Sorbent pads were placed in glass jars and delivered to laboratory. Lab data was ingested into DIVER.

Water Mapping method samples were photoanalyzed for thickness. Data was ingested into DIVER.

Process Contact: Office of Response and Restoration (ORR)
Source: NOAA Methods Development

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 57668
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:57668
Metadata Record Created By: Terrance Wang
Metadata Record Created: 2019-09-19 16:46+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-08-15 17:09+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2023-02-28
Owner Org: ORR
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2019-09-27
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2020-09-27