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Time Series Analysis of Land Surface Temperature in Relation to Urban Tree Cover in Worcester, Massachusetts

Authors: Shannon Reault*, Clark University, Marc Healy, Clark University, Nicholas Geron, Clark University, Deborah Martin, Clark University, John Rogan, Clark University
Topics: Urban Geography, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: urban heat island, urban canopy cover, time series, surface temperature, juvenile trees, seasonality
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 4:35 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Tree canopy cover plays a mediating role on surface temperature, especially in urban locations with large amounts of impervious material that exacerbates the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI). Since 2007, Worcester, Massachusetts has experienced tree canopy loss due to the Asian Longhorn Beetle eradication, and gain through the planting of 6,851 trees throughout Worcester since 2010 in an effort to mitigate the effects of UTC loss and decrease home energy expenses for residents. However, little is currently known about the relationship between the placement and current coverage of the juvenile trees and their impact on surface temperature. This study addresses the following questions: 1) How have the juvenile trees impacted surface temperature in Worcester?; and 2) Within regions of monotonic cooling or heating, what is the seasonality of the trend? A thermal time series of Worcester from 2007-2019 was created using the 30m Landsat Provisional Surface Temperature product to track the surface temperature trends. Locations of persistent canopy cover were consistently cooler than more metropolitan regions, and regions of tree plantings may display some slight cooling effects. Regions of expansive urban tree canopy (UTC) cover will have smaller seasonal curve changes in comparison to areas with juvenile DCR trees. The findings of this research will inform the practices of a tree planting program sponsored by the DCR concerning their goal of lowering residential energy costs.

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