Denver's Evolving Heat Island: The Dual Impacts of Urbanization & Greening

Authors: Byron Schuldt*,
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Urban Geography
Keywords: Remote Sensing, Urban Heat Island, Google Earth Engine
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download



Urban areas often exhibit higher air and surface temperatures than rural areas, due to the "heat island" effect. Elevated temperatures pose public health and energy use challenges for cities worldwide. Meanwhile, recent research shows that urban expansion/intensification and climate change have the potential to further exacerbate this problem. In response, organizations such as The Nature Conservancy have scaled up tree-planting efforts in cities, as trees provide cooling benefits. This poster represents a GIS Master's research project focusing on the evolving heat island of Denver, CO, and attempts to quantify the cooling impact of tree cover. Remotely-sensed data on land surface temperature (LST) is used as a measurement of Denver's heat island, and the project employs a time series approach to examine the evolution of LST in Denver over the sequence of years 1999-2018. Second, remotely-sensed data on tree canopy area is correlated to LST to quantify the cooling benefits of increased tree planting. This step intends to provide information to organizations to refine tree-planting targets for maximum benefit. The poster will also detail the methods used for both steps; Google Earth Engine was used to efficiently filter, process, and analyze the large amount of MODIS Terra data involved in the LST time series. This tool may be of interest to researches working with large remote sensing datasets.

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