Thermal Infrared Remote Sensing

Thermal Infrared Remote Sensing

  • 3 Jan, 2014
  • Mark Zeman

Infrared remote sensing generates imagery by detecting radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface, opposed to reflected energy (color infrared). Energy particles in matter emit electromagnetic radiation, of minute degrees, which are perceivable by thermal infrared sensors. Since different objects (buildings, vegetation, water, moist soil, road surfaces, etc.) all are comprised of different materials, they all radiate different heat signatures – which can be depicted in the thermal infrared imagery.

Airborne sensors can paint broad, wide pictures of minute changes in thermal conditions within unimproved areas (such as forests and wetlands) and even map patterns of temperature in rivers, lakes and streams – entire watersheds. Sensed temperatures are converted into colors, which create an image which can readily be interpreted. The data gathered through this sensing method can be used for any number of applications, such as sensing water temperatures in rivers and streams to determine changes in temperature for fish.

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