Thermography for the detection of soil properties

Spatio-temporal analyses of soil properties are important for more profound insights into soil processes. Up to now, non-invasive approaches analyzing physical and biological soil properties and dynamics at the microscale are not available due to methodological, instrumental, and analytical challenges. In this study, we evaluate the use of active and passive infrared thermography (IRT), a non-invasive and non-contact technique, for the detection of surface temperature-based parameters on soil surfaces. The potential and possibilities of IRT were analyzed with a focus on the detection and calibration of soil moisture using active IRT and the determination of microbial activity using passive IRT. A pool of 51 soil samples was used to cover a wide range of chemical, physical, and biological soil properties. The samples were rewetted to 16 different moisture contents, filled into vessels, and placed in an air-proof glove box with an adjusted relative humidity of about 92% to reduce soil drying. Immediately after

Funded by

This project has no funding.


  • Katharina Schwarz, Julian Heitkötter, Jannis Heil, Bernd Marschner, Britta Stumpe: The potential of active and passive infrared thermography for identifying dynamics of soil moisture and microbial activity at high spatial and temporal resolution. Geoderma 2018


This project has no theses.