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Changes in urban greenness in the Wasatch Front, Utah from 1985–2019

Authors: Justin White*, Utah Valley University, Justus Thomas, Utah Valley University
Topics: Remote Sensing, Arid Regions, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Urban environments, human-environment interactions, remote sensing
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


More than 80% of U.S.A. residents live in urban areas, which are growing most rapidly in the arid regions. As these urban areas expand, they disperse water and resources in otherwise more barren environments. The human-subsidized nature of resources in cities also enable greater primary productivity than adjacent rural regions. The Wasatch Front (which includes Salt Lake City, Orem, and Provo), UT supports the highest rate of natural increase in the U.S.A. and one of the most rapidly urbanizing urban areas in the arid American West. To identify how urban greenness in the Wasatch Front changed from 1985–2019, we used Landsat Collection 1, Level 1 imagery to calculate the Leaf Area and Normalized Difference Water Indices during annual maximum leaf area periods. Aerosols and varying densities of atmospheric particulates were corrected for using AtCOR Workflow for Imagine. ATCOR accounts for per-pixel elevation, solar insolation, season, and latitude among other variables. Indices for each year were averaged with the year prior and subsequent. Geoprocessing occurred in ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap, and ERDAS Imagine. Here, we present our findings and discuss future implications given land use and water management in this region. We also place our findings in the context arid urban ecosystems.

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