Achieving High-Resolution Thermal Imagery in Low-Contrast Lake Surface Waters by Aerial Remote Sensing and Image Registration
A.I. Rahaghi, U. Lemmin, D. Sage, D.A. Barry
Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 221, pp. 773-783, February 2019.
A two-platform measurement system for realizing airborne thermography of the Lake Surface Water Temperature (LSWT) with ~0.8m pixel resolution (sub-pixel satellite scale) is presented. It consists of a tethered Balloon Launched Imaging and Monitoring Platform (BLIMP) that records LSWT images and an autonomously operating catamaran (called ZiviCat) that measures in situ surface/near surface temperatures within the image area, thus permitting simultaneous ground-truthing of the BLIMP data. The BLIMP was equipped with an uncooled InfraRed (IR) camera. The ZiviCat was designed to measure along predefined trajectories on a lake. Since LSWT spatial variability in each image is expected to be low, a poor estimation of the common spatial and temporal noise of the IR camera (nonuniformity and shutter-based drift, respectively) leads to errors in the thermal maps obtained. Nonuniformity was corrected by applying a pixelwise two-point linear correction method based on laboratory experiments. A Probability Density Function (PDF) matching in regions of overlap between sequential images was used for the drift correction. A feature matching-based algorithm, combining blob and region detectors, was implemented to create composite thermal images, and a mean value of the overlapped images at each location was considered as a representative value of that pixel in the final map. The results indicate that a high overlapping field of view (~95%) is essential for image fusion and noise reduction over such low-contrast scenes. The in situ temperatures measured by the ZiviCat were then used for the radiometric calibration. This resulted in the generation of LSWT maps at sub-pixel satellite scale resolution that revealed spatial LSWT variability, organized in narrow streaks hundreds of meters long and coherent patches of different size, with unprecedented detail.
AUTHOR="Rahaghi, A.I. and Lemmin, U. and Sage, D. and Barry, D.A.",
TITLE="Achieving High-Resolution Thermal Imagery in Low-Contrast Lake
Surface Waters by Aerial Remote Sensing and Image Registration",
JOURNAL="Remote Sensing of Environment",
Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from
This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.