Articles | Volume 4, issue 5
Research article
20 May 2011
Research article |  | 20 May 2011

Atmospheric correction of thermal-infrared imagery of the 3-D urban environment acquired in oblique viewing geometry

F. Meier, D. Scherer, J. Richters, and A. Christen

Abstract. This research quantifies and discusses atmospheric effects, which alter the radiance observed by a ground-based thermal-infrared (TIR) camera. The TIR camera is mounted on a boom at a height of 125 m above ground on top of a high-rise building in the city of Berlin, Germany (52.4556° N, 13.3200° E) and observes the Earth's surface. The study shows that atmospheric correction of TIR imagery of the three-dimensional (3-D) urban environment acquired in oblique viewing geometry has to account for spatial variability of line-of-sight (LOS) geometry. We present an atmospheric correction procedure that uses these spatially distributed LOS geometry parameters, the radiative transfer model MODTRANTM5.2 and atmospheric profile data derived from meteorological measurements in the field of view (FOV) of the TIR camera. The magnitude of atmospheric effects varies during the analysed 24-hourly period (6 August 2009) and is particularly noticeable for surfaces showing a strong surface-to-air temperature difference. The differences between uncorrected and corrected TIR imagery reach up to 6.7 K at 12:00. The use of non-spatially distributed LOS parameters leads to errors of up to 3.7 K at 12:00 and up to 0.5 K at 24:00.