1 Introduction

In this module, we will discuss the following concepts:

  1. Working with remotely sensed imagery of the ocean.

  2. Creating a video from an image time series.

  3. Time Series Analysis in GEE.

  4. Adding basic elements to the graphical user interface.

2 Background

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is considered to be the largest accidental marine oil spill ever to occur. The well released over 4.9 million barrels of oil of which 4.1 million barrels went into the water of the Gulf of Mexico between April 20th and July 15th of 2010. Efforts were taken to reduce the impact of the spill by burning or skimming the oil on the ocean’s surface and by releasing over 1.84 million gallons of the chemical dispersant(Corexit) on the surface of the ocean and directly into the stream of oil being emitted at the well some 5,000 feet beneath the ocean surface. Even with these efforts, the oil spill has significantly affected the Gulf’s coastal and marine ecosystems. While extensive efforts were taken to evaluate the effects of the oil in these systems, the massive amount of area effected by the spill made it difficult to do so. In this module we are going to conduct our own exploration of the ecological impact of this spill by monitoring the trend in algal concentrations over time within the area most directly impacted by the spill. As algae are the primary producers in marine ecosystems, monitoring how their populations were affected by this change may allow us to make larger statements about the overall effect of the oil on the ecosystem function.