Timor Sea Drilling Spill – September 24 Images

New images from NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites keep coming in for the ongoing oil spill in the Timor Sea. At 8:45 am local time, the Terra satellite passed overhead and captured this image, showing oil slicks and sheen throughout a 9,870 square mile area (=7,455 square nautical miles). Part of the slick appears to be in contact with Cartier Island, a national marine reserve.

NASA / MODIS (Aqua) satellite image, September 24, 2009, with SkyTruth analysis.

Five hours later the Aqua satellite took this image. The wind speed had increased from 10 knots to 18 knots, creating a much rougher sea surface and breaking up or obscuring the thinner slicks and sheen. Only thicker portions of the slick are apparent in this image, adjacent to the Montara oil platform, covering about 3,940 square miles (=2,976 nautical square miles). No slicks are apparent near Cartier – a good sign on Day 34 of this continuing spill.

A team of marine researchers lead by World Wildlife Fund has set out to study the effects of this spill on ecosystems and wildlife. They should be in the area for the next couple of days. If we’re lucky, we’ll get satellite images that correspond with their “sea-truth” observations and photos.

See all our satellite and aerial images of the spill here.