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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-334
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Technical note 02 Jul 2018

Technical note | 02 Jul 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Technical note: Mapping surface saturation dynamics with thermal infrared imagery

Barbara Glaser1,2, Marta Antonelli1,3, Marco Chini4, Laurent Pfister1,5, and Julian Klaus1 Barbara Glaser et al.
  • 1Catchment and Eco-Hydrology Research Group, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, Esch/Alzette, 4362, Luxembourg
  • 2Department of Hydrology, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, 95447, Germany
  • 3Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, 6700, The Netherlands
  • 4Remote Sensing and Ecohydrological modelling Research Group, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, Esch/Alzette, 4362, Luxembourg
  • 5Faculty of Science, Communication and Technology, University of Luxembourg, Maison du Savoir, 2 Avenue de l'Université, L-4365 Esch-sur-Alzette

Abstract. In this study we assess the practicability of applying thermal infrared (TIR) imagery for mapping surface saturation dynamics. The advantage of TIR imagery compared to other surface saturation mapping methods is its large spatial and temporal flexibility combined with a non-invasive and intuitive character. Based on an 18-month field campaign, we review and discuss the methodological principles, under which conditions the method works best and what problems may occur. These considerations enable to plan efficient TIR imagery mapping campaigns and to benefit from the full potential offered by TIR imagery, which we demonstrate with several application examples. In addition, we elaborate on image post-processing and test different methods for the generation of binary saturation maps from the TIR images. The method testing is performed on various images with different image characteristics. Results show that the best method in addition to a manual image classification is a statistical-based approach that combines distribution fitting of two pixel classes, adaptive thresholding and region growing.

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Short summary
We demonstrate how thermal infrared images can be used for mapping the appearance and disappearance of water at the surface. The usage of thermal infrared images allows to map this (dis)appearance for various temporal and spatial resolutions and the images are intuitive to understand. We explain in detail the necessary steps from image acquisition to final processing by relying on image examples and experience from an 18 months mapping campaign.
We demonstrate how thermal infrared images can be used for mapping the appearance and...
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