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This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.
This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
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This page first made public: Aug 17, 2010
Calculating surface temperature using Landsat thermal imagery
Abduwasit Ghulam, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Center for Environmental Sciences, Saint Louis University, St Louis, MO 63103
SummaryIn this lab, students are walked through a hands-on exercise converting digital numbers to at sensor brightness temperatures using Level 1B Landsat ETM+ thermal imagery acquired over Tallahassee, Florida, USA on November 06, 1999.
Type and level of course
GIS 4XX, Geospatial Methods, is an upper level course designed for college level geosciences students, and introduces integrated remote sensing, GIS, GPS techniques in coastal zone management and/or environmental studies.
Geoscience background assumed in this assignment
Introductory level geology knowledge is preferred, but not required.
GIS/remote sensing skills/background assumed in this assignment
An introductory course in remote sensing, GIS is preferred, but not required.
Software required for this assignment/activity:
ENVI; ArcGIS (ArcView or ArcInfo with Spatial Analyst Extension)
Time required for students to complete the assignment:
GIS/remote sensing techniques students learn in this assignment
- Familiarize students with concepts of digital numbers, radiance, brightness and surface temperature
- Practice spectral sampling
- Familiarize with radiometric calibration
Other content/concepts goals for this activity
Familiarize students with the basics of groundwater hydrology, and structural controls of submarine springs in coastal areas
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Groundwater discharge in coastal zones may be detected using thermal remote sensing data based on the temperature anomalies between sea water and ground water discharge - the so-called submarine springs. Sustainable harness of submarine groundwater discharge, exploiting them before flow into the sea is of paramount importance for arid regions located in sea shorelines.
- Thermal differences between seawater and groundwater discharge.
- Groundwater temperature may be constant year round.
Description of the activity/assignmentStudents are walked through downloading Landsat ETM+ data, and converting digital numbers to radiance, and then to temperature. Students are required to apply what they have learned in the lecture on thermal remote sensing to a practical example. Students are expected to discuss identified thermal anomalies in Florida's coastal zone, and its possible association with submarine springs by consulting geologic maps.
Determining whether students have met the goalsThe thermal anomaly maps and an extended abstract that illustrates the connection between submarine springs and thermal anomalies can be used for assessment. Evidences referenced from the other sources, e.g., geologic maps, to confirm the association of thermal anomalies with groundwater aquifers to prove/disprove their interpretation is a plus.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
URLs and References
Go to USGS website http://glovis.usgs.gov, and download the data following the lab handout attached to this manual.
JIMÉNEZ-MUÑOZ, J.C., SOBRINO, J.A. 2003. A generalized single-channel method for retrieving land surface temperature from remote sensing data. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, doi: 10.1029/2003JD003480
QIN, Z., KARNIELI, A., BERLINER, P. 2001. A mono-window algorithm for retrieving land surface temperature from Landsat TM data and its application to the Israel-Egypt border region. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 22, pp.3719-3746.
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment: Student handout for Calculating Temperature (Acrobat (PDF) 1.2MB Aug6 10)
- Instructors Notes:
- Solution Set:
Calculating surface temperature using Landsat thermal imagery --Discussion
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