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PyTirCam-1.0: A Python Model to Manage Thermal Infrared Camera Data

Fig. 4
Figure 4. Exported Mt. Etna image in .jpg format by means of ResearchIR software in the temperature range of [−10, 60] °C. The frame captures an instant of the 16 November 2006 paroxysmal episode at the South East Crater (SEC), showing: (i) The explosive activity above the crater forming the volcanic plume directed to the NE; (ii) effusive activity at the base of SEC (white arrow/glowing spot on the right); (iii) the fissure opened on the flank of the Bocca Nuova crater (BN; yellow arrow/glowing dot on the left)

Calusi B., D. Andronico, E. Pecora, E. Biale and M. Cerminara (2020)
Remote Sensing, 12/24, 4056,


Thermal-infrared remote sensing is used to monitor and study hazardous volcanic phenomena. Thermal cameras are often used by monitoring centers and laboratories. A physical comprehension of their behavior is needed to perform quantitative measurements, which are strongly dependent on camera features and settings. This makes it possible to control the radiance measurements related to volcanic processes and, thus, to detect thermal anomalies, validate models, and extract source parameters. We review the theoretical background related to the camera behavior beside the main features affecting thermal measurements: Atmospheric transmission, object emissivity and reflectivity, camera characteristics, and external optics. We develop a Python package, PythTirCam-1.0, containing pyTirTran, a radiative transfer model based on the HITRAN database and the camera spectral response. This model is compared with the empirical algorithm implemented into a commercial camera. These two procedures are validated using a simple experiment involving pyTirConv, an algorithm developed to recover the radiometric thermal data from compressed images collected by monitoring centers. Python scripts corresponding to the described methods are provided as open-source code. This study can be applied to a wide variety of applications and, specifically, to different volcanic processes, from earth and space.

Graphical abstract