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Assessing Land Surface Temperature, Vegetation Cover, and Compounding Vulnerability Factors to Identify High Priority Areas for Cooling Initiatives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Authors: Spencer Nelson*, NASA DEVELOP Program - SSAI, Sam Meltzer, NASA DEVELOP Program - SSAI, Brandy Nisbet-Wilcox, NASA DEVELOP Program - SSAI, Charlotte Wagner, NASA DEVELOP Program - SSAI
Topics: Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Science and Systems, United States
Keywords: remote sensing, geospatial analysis, urban geography, temperature, air quality, health geography
Session Type: Poster
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Concerns about the effects of extreme heat and poor air quality are increasing in North America’s largest urban centers. In Philadelphia, environmental and public health groups are concerned about how these phenomena disproportionality affect marginalized communities and populations, which often have extensive impervious surfaces and little access to green space. In order to address these concerns, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Office of Sustainability seek to effectively prioritize cooling initiatives to reduce urban heat and decrease air pollutants. We evaluated land surface temperature (LST) and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), as a measure of overall greenness, obtained from NASA Earth observations Aqua and Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and the Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS). These analyses were combined with local tree inventory, air quality, and socioeconomic data through a multivariate analysis to identify areas where new trees or cooling adaptations are most needed. The results and data of this project can be used by our partners to inform both short-term heat relief planning and a long-term, multi-agency heat response.

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