Hot Water

The above image is a thermal orthophoto mosaic and was captured by a FLIR TAU2 camera. Which was housed in one of my Cessna camera pods, flown on a Cessna 172. Imagery was captured from around 4000 ft AMSL just on sundown, and comprised of 4 flight lines and around 100 individual thermal frames.

The orthophoto mosaic is of the hot water outlet of a nearby power station that discharges the cooling water into a small bay of Lake Macquarie on the NSW central coast. I chose this site as I have previously  been involved with sea grass monitoring of this particular bay, using high resolution RGB aerial imagery. In these previous studies I worked closely with an environmental consultant who had placed temperature loggers in the bay, to monitor the water temperatures that the sea grasses were being exposed to over the summer period. Having temperature values in an excel spread sheet is one thing but being able to actually see the thermal plume is another thing entirely. To date the only thermal imagery of the site available is satellite, but that data is extremely course with a pixel size of around 40m, compared to the 0.7m pixels we captured.

One other notable feature in the imagery is how visible the road network is. This is due to the fact that the imagery was captured just after sundown on a hot day. The roads that had been baking in the sun all day are significantly hotter that the vegetated areas surrounding them and stand out in the imagery.


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