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Sagehen Creek UAS thermal sensing

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Created: Sep 07, 2022 at 5:12 p.m.
Last updated: Sep 15, 2022 at 5:23 p.m.
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Uncooled thermal infrared (TIR) imagers, commonly used on aircraft and small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, “drones”), can provide high‐resolution surface temperature maps, but their accuracy is dependent on reliable calibration sources. A novel method for correcting surface temperature observations made by uncooled TIR imagers uses observations over melting snow, which provides a constant 0 °C reference temperature. This bias correction method is applied to remotely sensed surface
temperature observations of forests and snow over two mountain study sites: Laret, Davos, Switzerland (27 March 2017) in the Alps, and Sagehen Creek, California, USA (21 April 2017) in the Sierra Nevada. Surface temperature retrieval errors that arise from temperature‐induced instrument bias, differences in image resolution, retrieval of mixed pixels, and variable view angles were evaluated for these forest snow scenes. Applying the melting snow‐based bias correction decreased the root‐mean‐square error by about 1 °C for retrieving snow, water, and forest canopy temperatures from airborne TIR observations. The influence of mixed pixels on surface temperature retrievals over forest snow scenes was found to depend on
image resolution and the spatial distribution of forest stands. Airborne observations over the forests at Sagehen showed that near the edges of TIR images, at more than 20° from nadir, the snow surface within forest gaps smaller than 10 m was obscured by the surrounding trees. These off‐nadir views, with fewer mixed pixels, could allow more accurate airborne and satellite‐based observations of canopy surface temperatures.

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WGS 84 EPSG:4326
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How to Cite

Harpold, A., C. OSU-UNR (2022). Sagehen Creek UAS thermal sensing, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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