Under a warmer future climate, thermal refuges could facilitate the persistence of species relying on cold-water habitat.
Thermal infrared (TIR) imagery can measure water surface temperatures that capture these features at high spatial resolutions (10-100 m). USGS researchers compared how TIR data could be used along with spatial stream network (SSN) models to characterize thermal regimes spatially in the Middle Fork John Day River, OR. They characterized the thermal variation in TIR temperature profiles and compared them with SSN model predictions of stream temperature for the same time periods as the TIR profiles, and assessed whether landscape features (e.g., tributary junctions, valley confinement, geomorphic reach classifications) could explain the fine-scale thermal variation in the TIR profiles. When used together, TIR data and SSN models provided a data-dense evaluation of the reaches in a river network accessible by TIR imagery and a spatially extensive prediction from SSN models of river thermal diversity.
Fuller, M.R., Ebersole, J.L., Detenbeck, N., Labisoa, R., Leinenbach, P., Torgersen, C.E., 2021, Integrating thermal infrared stream temperature imagery and spatial stream network models to understand natural spatial thermal variability in streams: Journal of Thermal Biology, v. 100, no. 103028.