International Journal of Computer Vision

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 233–254

Vision and the Atmosphere

  • Srinivasa G. Narasimhan
  • Shree K. Nayar

DOI: 10.1023/A:1016328200723

Cite this article as:
Narasimhan, S.G. & Nayar, S.K. International Journal of Computer Vision (2002) 48: 233. doi:10.1023/A:1016328200723


Current vision systems are designed to perform in clear weather. Needless to say, in any outdoor application, there is no escape from “bad” weather. Ultimately, computer vision systems must include mechanisms that enable them to function (even if somewhat less reliably) in the presence of haze, fog, rain, hail and snow.

We begin by studying the visual manifestations of different weather conditions. For this, we draw on what is already known about atmospheric optics, and identify effects caused by bad weather that can be turned to our advantage. Since the atmosphere modulates the information carried from a scene point to the observer, it can be viewed as a mechanism of visual information coding. We exploit two fundamental scattering models and develop methods for recovering pertinent scene properties, such as three-dimensional structure, from one or two images taken under poor weather conditions.

Next, we model the chromatic effects of the atmospheric scattering and verify it for fog and haze. Based on this chromatic model we derive several geometric constraints on scene color changes caused by varying atmospheric conditions. Finally, using these constraints we develop algorithms for computing fog or haze color, depth segmentation, extracting three-dimensional structure, and recovering “clear day” scene colors, from two or more images taken under different but unknown weather conditions.

physics based vision atmosphere bad weather fog haze visibility scattering attenuation airlight overcast sky scene structure defog dehaze 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Srinivasa G. Narasimhan
    • 1
  • Shree K. Nayar
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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