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Using Thermal Remote Sensing in Environmental Studies

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Thermovision is a relatively new method of remote sensing with applications in areas such as military operations, residential monitoring, technological process control and emergency management. Surprisingly, it has not seen much application in environmental studies. The article presents a method of using thermovision for topoclimatic studies. The method is based on the spatial distribution of land surface temperature (LST). The LST distribution indicates the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth surface and depends primarily on terrain shape and land cover types. By analyzing the LST distribution, one can determine spatial topoclimatic variability. The LST derived topoclimatic classification was compared with the theoretical topoclimatic classification based on heat balance. New classes of topoclimates were created and some of the existing types were diversified into more detailed subtypes. The analysis of selected lowland areas in north‐western Poland revealed that both land cover and terrain shape characteristics had a significant impact on the LST distribution, contrary to the expectation of land cover characteristics being more important than terrain shape. The article demonstrates the possibilities of using thermovision in environmental research and presents a new method of topoclimate delimitation based on thermal remote sensing data and geographical information systems (GIS) techniques comparing. The LST classification method with conventional methods based on DEM and land cover analysis.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-10-01

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