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Department of Geography Remote Sensing

Thermal Infrared Remote Sensing

  • TIRLab team

    TIRLab team

    Thermal infrared team photo taken with a FLIR A700. Picture: TIRLab.

  • Murtèl rock glacier, Engadine

    Murtèl rock glacier, Engadine

    TIR radiometer supporting monitoring of small-scale surface temperature variations across the landform. Picture: Kathrin Naegeli.

  • Goniometer Laboratory Experiments

    Goniometer Laboratory Experiments

    Using miniature forest to investigate directionality effects in thermal data over forest canopies. Picture: Jennifer Adams.

  • Ägerisee, Central Switzerland

    Ägerisee, Central Switzerland

    One of our inland water reference sites including observations of lake surface water temperature. Picture: Abolfazl Irani Rahaghi.

  • TIR UAV observations

    TIR UAV observations

    Drone imagery add valuable datasets for our multi-scale approach. Picture: Kathrin Naegeli.

  • Zmuttgletscher, Valais

    Zmuttgletscher, Valais

    Field installations in support of airborne TIR data acquisition. Picture: Kathrin Naegeli.

  • Sky Temperature - Thermal Calibration Target

    Sky Temperature - Thermal Calibration Target

    Calibration of TIR datasets is crucial, here we measure sky temperature with a crinkled aluminium sheet. Picture: Kathrin Naegeli.

  • Findelgletscher, Valais

    Findelgletscher, Valais

    Surface temperature instrument alongside near-real-time mass balance observation station. Picture: Gabriele Bramati.


The TIRLab at RSL works on the acquisition and use of thermal infrared datasets across scales (in situ, drone-based, space-borne, models) and spheres (bio-, cryo- and hydrosphere). TIR datasets carry a large potential to improve our understanding of the Earth surface energy balance. However, the great spatio-temporal variability of Land Surface Temperatures (LSTs) challenges an accurate spatially distributed acquisition of data.
Our science focuses both on fundamental TIR research and solution-oriented studies. We investigate spatio-temporal variabilities, directional effects and biophysical variables such as evapotranspiration by means of TIR data obtained by varying instruments and combined with information of other environmental variables. Across-scale experiments shall identify potential and limitations of upcoming TIR satellite data (Trishna, LSTM, SBG) for environmental studies in the context of global atmospheric warming.