Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS)


The Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) aboard the joint NASA/USGS Landsat-8 satellite measures land surface temperature in two thermal bands with a new technology that applies quantum physics to detect heat. These two bands allow for the separation of Earth’s surface temperature from that of the atmosphere, which enables the differentiation of cold spots (such as irrigated vegetation) from warm spots (such as recent burn scars). This technology can be applied to track how land and water are being used, which is critical for observing burned areas, monitoring urban heat islands, and understanding water consumption/irrigation practices. An upgraded TIRS (TIRS-2) is aboard the joint NASA/USGS Landsat-9 satellite.

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