Although satellite thermal infrared (TIR) remote sensing is a valuable tool for the thermal mapping of coastal waters and watercourses, it has many problematic issues, the most important of which are linked to spatial resolution. In the literature, several algorithms for sharpening thermal imagery can be found. Nevertheless, most of them are devoted to land temperature and are not applicable to water–land mixed pixels. In this article, a new algorithm for sharpening water thermal imagery (SWTI) at the water–land boundaries is presented. SWTI is based on the assumption that a relationship exists between the TIR radiance emitted by the pixels of the scene and the fractional water coverage, the fractional non-vegetated soil coverage and a variable describing the presence of vegetated soils. The algorithm works on a pixel by pixel basis and the results are accepted or refused using an analysis of variance (ANOVA) test. SWTI was applied to two Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) scenes acquired on areas where complex water surfaces are present: the delta of the Po river and the lagoon of Venice (Italy). The spatial resolution of ASTER TIR scenes was improved from 90 to 30 m. Different variables were tested to represent vegetated soils, and the SWTI sensitivity to them has been inspected. The performance of SWTI has been studied using visual inspection and statistical and simulation methods. Visual inspection indicated that the spatial enhancement was significant for most of the water surfaces and, in particular, for watercourses. Most of the details with dimension ≥60 m (i.e. 2 pixels at the final spatial resolution) were discernible. Quantitative analysis showed that the algorithm was successfully applicable for 94% and for 84% of the mixed pixels at the water–land boundary in the Po and in the Venice case studies, respectively. Expected and maximum errors were 1 and 1.4 K in the Po case, and 1 and 2.1 K in the Venice case. These values can be considered satisfactory when compared with the ASTER thermal accuracy (1 K). Further research is required to confirm the accuracy and performance analysis using methods based on accurate and higher resolution thermal imagery and on ground measurements.
A technique for spatial sharpening of thermal imagery of coastal waters and of watercourses / Teggi, Sergio. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING. - ISSN 0143-1161. - STAMPA. - 33:(2012), pp. 3063-3089. [10.1080/01431161.2011.627888]