Potential and Challenges in Use of Thermal Imaging for Humid Region Irrigation System Management

Steven J. Thomson, Claudiane M. Ouellet-Plamondon, Sherri L. DeFauw, Yanbo Huang, Daniel K. Fisher, Patrick J. English


Thermal imaging has shown potential to assist with many aspects of irrigation management that include scheduling application of water and detecting leaking irrigation canals and delivery systems. There are particular challenges for use of thermal imaging for scheduling irrigation in humid subtropical climates, which include the need for fine delineation of canopy temperatures under low vapor pressure deficits, proper accounting for micrometeorological conditions, and altitude effects on canopy temperature represented at the camera. A review of pertinent issues involved in using thermal methods for sensing canopy temperature is presented that can be applied to the imaging problem. Altitude effects were demonstrated in a new field experiment, and multiple regression was used to indicate and model weather and altitude effects. The use of spatial statistics was shown to enhance the value of thermal imagery using sensor fusion. Thermal imagery was also useful in detecting leakage from irrigation systems in the context of overall irrigation system management.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jas.v4n4p103

Journal of Agricultural Science ISSN 1916-9752 (Print) ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)

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