Spectral infrared emissivity measurements have been made of a variety of materials both with and without surface water. The surface water was either natural, in the form of dew or residual rainwater, or artificially introduced by manual wetting. Materials naturally high in water content were also measured. Despite the rather diverse spectral population of the underlying materials, they exhibited very similar, featureless, water-like spectra; spectrally flat with a very high magnitude across the emissive infrared region. The implication to exploitation personnel that may use emissive infrared hyperspectral image data is that in areas where condensation is likely (e.g. high humidity) or in areas populated with high water content background materials (e.g. highly vegetated areas), discrimination may prove an intractable problem with hyperspectral infrared sensing for ambient temperature targets. A target that exhibits a temperature either below or above ambient temperature may be detectable, but not identified, and may be more economically pursued with a far simpler, single-band midwave or longwave sensor.

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Copyright 2003 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.

The authors would like to thank the Central MASINT Organization, its Technology Coordination Office, and SITAC for the sponsoring and support of these collections. Bob Satterwhite and Joe Leckie from SITAC provided able assistance with the measurements. Dr. Gerard Jellison of SITAC provided valuable editing advice.

Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


RIT – Main Campus