Understanding Impacts of Desert Urbanization on Climate and Surrounding Environments to Foster Sustainable Cities Using Remote Sensing and Numerical M

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project will address the following themes relative to desert cities. (A) The influences on local climate of internal urban features, land fragmentation, and spatial arrangements of land cover and land use (LCLU) in both the urban space and surrounding areas. (B) LCLU patterns and rates of change within and around selected cities over time (1985 - 2010). (C) The warming and climate change/variability impacts on the livability, resources, sustainability, and growth of these cities. (D) The balances between oasis cooling, surface morphology, and fabric infrastructure heat storage and warming effects and their impacts on the local climate over space and time. (E) The magnitude and long-term influence of desert urbanization on regional precipitation, temperatures, and airflow pattern changes associated with the oasis effect. (F) Adaptation, alternate management, and land use planning scenarios are for sustainable city development in desert environments. Five sub-tropical desert city regions: Phoenix, USA; Beer Sheva, Israel; Jodhpur, India; Kharga, Egypt; Hotan/Hetian, China, have been chosen. Remote sensing, numerical modeling, land change simulation, ground data, and demographic analysis, the variability of rural and urban climate and associated changes in socioeconomic and biological conditions will be used. Landsat Thematic Mapper (30 m) data acquired over the selected cities in 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010 will be employed to address the urban fringe-desert interface. Overall goals are to better understand the impacts of changing land covers spatial distribution, patterns, and arrangements within and around these cities in relation to climate change, and to use this knowledge to support adaptive management and foster sustainable desert cities. The following objectives have been set. (1) Quantify fractions of different land cover types (dark impervious, bright impervious, trees/shrubs, grass, soil) and identify different land use classes (residential, commercial, industrial, agriculture) in Landsat TM images (i.e., 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010) acquired over five desert cities using a combination of multiple end-member spectral mixture analysis (MESMA) and object-based image analysis (OBIA). (2) Determine the rate of change and the spatial change of LCLU at each point over time (1985 - 2010). (3) Correlate surface temperatures with LCLU classes and their changes generated above using Landsat thermal band and day/nighttime NOAA AVHRR and MODIS thermal bands. (4) Examine the hourly energy budget components (sensible and latent heat fluxes, heat storage, and all-net wave radiation) that provide insight into the different cooling impacts of vegetation that leads to an oasis effect using the Local-Scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme (LUMPS). 5) Establish the relationship between land fragmentation and surface temperatures within desert cities and their surrounding environments. 6) Examine how population growth in sub-tropical desert areas, beginning in 1990, has changed relative to population growth in nondesert areas of the sub-tropics Using NASA-funded SEDACs Global Rural-Urban Mapping Project (GRUMP) version 1, and subsequent versions as released http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/gpw/. 7) Explore the relationship between desert city expansion and surface temperature change using GRUMP data in conjunction with surface temperature data. 8) Examine the relationship between population density and both temperature and vegetation abundance for cities in the detailed study component of the project, using national census data at the most detailed geographic data available. 9) Simulate regional precipitation, temperatures, and airflow pattern changes associated with the oasis effect, using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. 10) Employ a land change model to predict future desert cities and their surrounding environments using different environmental and planning scenarios.
Effective start/end date8/1/127/31/17


  • NASA: Goddard Space Flight Center: $765,990.00


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