Understanding the spatiotemporal development of human settlement in hurricane-prone areas on the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts using nighttime remote sensing

Xiao Huang, Cuizhen Wang, Junyu Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hurricanes, as one of the most devastating natural hazards, have posed a great threat to people in coastal areas. A better understanding of the spatiotemporal dynamics of human settlement in hurricane-prone areas largely benefits sustainable development. This study uses the nighttime light (NTL) data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's Operational Linescan System (DMSP/OLS) to examine human settlement development in areas with different levels of hurricane proneness from 1992 to 2013. The DMSP/OLS NTL data from six satellites were intercalibrated and desaturated with the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) optical imagery to derive the Vegetation Adjusted NTL Urban Index (VANUI), a popular index that quantifies human settlement intensity. The derived VANUI time series was examined with the Mann-Kendall test and Theil-Sen test to identify significant spatiotemporal trends. To link the VANUI product to hurricane impacts, four hurricane-prone zones were extracted to represent different levels of hurricane proneness. Aside from geographic division, a wind-speed-weighted track density function was developed and applied to historical storm tracks which originated in the North Atlantic Basin to better categorize the four levels of hurricane proneness. Spatiotemporal patterns of human settlement in the four zones were finally analyzed. The results clearly exhibit a north-south and inland-coastal discrepancy of human settlement dynamics. This study also reveals that both the zonal extent and zonal increase rate of human settlement positively correlate with hurricane proneness levels. The intensified human settlement in high hurricane-exposure zones deserves further attention for coastal resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2141-2155
Number of pages15
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Volume19
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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