Analysis of the Surface Urban Heat Island in Chicopee, Massachusetts, using Landsat -8 Analysis Ready Thermal Imagery

Authors: Rachel Corcoran-Adams*, Clark University, John Rogan, Advisor, Deborah Martin, Fellowship Co-Director, Marc Healy, Doctoral Student Supervisor, Nicholas Geron, Doctoral Student Supervisor
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Human-Environment Geography, Remote Sensing
Keywords: SUHI, greening, urban greening, environmental justice
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Urban greening programs (UGP) in the United States have been implemented primarily to mitigate the Surface Urban Heat Island (SUHI) effect in sections of cities with high socioeconomic vulnerability. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Greening the Gateway Cities Program (GGCP) is a UGP designed to increase tree canopy cover in environmental justice neighborhoods and thus, to reduce household utility costs for renter populations. The GGCP targets neighborhoods having low tree canopy, high wind speeds, large renter population, and older housing units (i.e., poorly insulated). The DCR has planted over 8,000 trees in thirteen Gateway Cities and requires evidence that reveals the linkage between preexisting tree cover conditions, new tree cover, and land surface temperatures (LST). This paper examines the association between urban tree canopy and its impact on, and future potential for, SUHI mitigation in the city of Chicopee. In order to examine the association between SUHI and locations occupied by marginalized communities, the paper also examines if SUHI hotspots, defined as locations of consistently high LST, are predominantly located in environmental justice zones within Chicopee. Summer-season Analysis Ready Landsat-8 thermal data (ARD) (2019) were used to identify trends in LST at pixel, block and neighborhood scales. Results show that SUHI hotspots are predominantly located in environmental justice zones.

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