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Looking to the Skies: Realising the Combined Potential of Drones and Thermal Infrared Imagery to Advance Hydrological Process Understanding in Headwaters

Dugdale, Stephen J; Klaus, Julian; Hannah, David M

Looking to the Skies: Realising the Combined Potential of Drones and Thermal Infrared Imagery to Advance Hydrological Process Understanding in Headwaters Thumbnail


Authors

Julian Klaus

David M Hannah



Abstract

In river systems, headwater networks contain the vast majority of the stream length. Thus, climate and land-use change in headwaters have disproportionate impacts on downstream ecosystems and societies that rely on them. Despite decades of hydrological research, difficulties in observing hydrological properties across scales means that scientific knowledge of processes driving streamflow in headwaters remains limited. However, the recent emergence of two complementary technologies, drones and thermal infrared (TIR) remote sensing, has potential to collect data at scales and resolutions needed to advance hydrological process understanding in headwaters. In this commentary, we explain how drone-based TIR can offer unique high-resolution observations of surface connectivity and headwater network dynamics across multiple spatio-temporal scales. We explore the current state-of-the-art of drones and TIR imaging in the hydrological sciences, highlighting the potential benefits but also steps that will need to be taken to release these technologies’ full potential. We finish by contending that drone-based TIR is particularly well-placed to bridge the current gap in between field (point) observations and model simulations to provide the improved hydrological understanding needed for a changing world.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 14, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 20, 2022
Publication Date 2022-02
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 21, 2022
Journal Water Resources Research
Print ISSN 0043-1397
Electronic ISSN 1944-7973
Publisher American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 58
Issue 2
Article Number e2021WR031168
DOI https://doi.org/10.1029/2021wr031168
Keywords Water Science and Technology
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/7337370
Publisher URL https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2021WR031168
Additional Information An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright 2022 American Geophysical Union.

Dugdale, S. J., Klaus, J., & Hannah, D. M. (2022). Looking to the skies: Realizing the combined potential of drones and thermal infrared imagery to advance hydrological process understanding in headwaters. Water Resources Research, 58, e2021WR031168. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021WR031168. To view the published open abstract, go to http://dx.doi.org and enter the DOI.

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