Imaging Science MS Defense: Lucy Zimmerman

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imaging science ms defense lucy zimmerman

MS Thesis Defense
Comparison of methane detection for shortwave and longwave infrared hyperspectral sensors under varying environmental conditions

Lucy Zimmerman
Imaging Science MS Candidate
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, RIT

Attendees will learn about the comparison of methane detection for shortwave and longwave infrared hyperspectral sensors under varying environmental conditions.


Identifying methane gas emission sources is crucial to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, and hyperspectral imagery is an effective method of detection which can fill knowledge gaps in the methane budget. Methane, with a heat trapping capability 21 times greater than that of carbon dioxide, is primarily emitted in the United States by the fossil fuel industry and agriculture. Airborne monitoring can locate methane emission sources in order to mitigate leaks, as well as provide accountability for reaching emissions reduction goals. Because of methane’s absorption features in the infrared, both shortwave infrared (SWIR) and longwave infrared (LWIR) hyperspectral sensors have been used to accurately detect methane plumes. However, surface background and environmental conditions can cause methane detectability to vary. This study compared methane detectability under varying environmental conditions for two airborne hyperspectral sensors: AVIRIS-NG in the SWIR and HyTES in the LWIR. For this trade study, we modeled methane plume detection under a wide variety of conditions by making use of synthetic images. These images were comprised of MODTRAN-generated radiance curves, some of which passed through a high concentration of methane in order to model a plume. We applied a matched filter to these images to assess detection accuracy. We found that the condition which has the greatest impact on methane detectability in the SWIR is the contrast between the surface reflectance directly under the plume and the surface reflectance in the portion of the image with no plume present. Methane detectability in the LWIR varies mostly due to temperature contrast between the methane plume and the ground surface. We computed the boundaries on these conditions which make methane most detectable for each instrument. The results of this trade study can help inform decision making about which sensors are most useful for various types of methane emission analysis, such as leak detection, plume mapping, and emissions rate quantification.

Intended Audience:
Undergraduates, graduates, and experts. Those with interest in the topic.
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Lori Hyde
Event Snapshot
When and Where
August 30, 2022
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Room/Location: 3215

Open to the Public

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imaging science