Navigation Links
Satellites pinpoint drivers of urban heat islands in the northeast
Date:12/13/2010

GREENBELT, Md. -- The size, background ecology, and development patterns of major northeastern cities combine to make them unusually warm, according to NASA scientists who presented new research today at an American Geophysical Union meeting, in San Francisco, Calif.

Summer land surface temperatures of cities in the Northeast were an average of 13F to 16F (7C to 9C) warmer than surrounding rural areas over a three year period, the new research shows. The complex phenomenon that drives up temperatures of cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. is called the urban heat island effect.

By comparing 42 cities in the Northeast, the researchers have demonstrated that a city's development pattern can have a significant impact on the strength of a city's heat island. They found that densely-developed cities with compact urban cores are more apt to produce strong urban heat islands than more sprawling, less intensely-developed cities.

The new research relating development patterns and heat islands is part of a broader effort by scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. to study urban heat islands all around the globe. By analyzing data from thousands of settlements, the Goddard team has pinpointed a set of key city characteristics that drive the development of strong heat islands.

"This, at least to our knowledge, is the first time that anybody has systematically compared the heat islands of a large number of cities at continental and global scales," said Ping Zhang, a researcher at Goddard and the lead author of the research.

The largest cities, their analysis shows, usually have the strongest heat islands. Cities located in forested regions, such as the northeastern United States, also have stronger heat islands than cities situated in grassy or desert environments.

"The urban heat island is a relative measure comparing the temperature of the urban core to the surrounding area," said Marc Imhoff, the leader of the NASA Goddard research group. "As a result, the condition of the rural land around the city matters a great deal."

The method used to compare the cities, which the team of scientists has honed for about two years, involves the use of maps of impervious surface area produced by the United States Geological Survey-operated Landsat satellite, and surface temperature data from the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), an instrument aboard NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites.

Development produces heat islands by replacing vegetation, particularly forests, with pavement, buildings, and other infrastructure. This limits plant transpiration, an evaporative process that helps cool plant leaves and results in cooler air temperatures, explained Robert Wolfe, one of the Goddard scientists who conducted the new research.

Dark city infrastructure, such as black roofs, also makes urban areas more apt to absorb and retain heat. Heat generated by motor vehicles, factories, and homes also contributes to the development of urban heat islands.

Of the 42 northeastern U.S. cities most-recently analyzed, Providence, R.I.; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Baltimore, Md.; Boston, Mass.; and Pittsburgh, Pa. had some of the strongest heat islands.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sarah DeWitt
sarah.l.dewitt@nasa.gov
301-286-0535
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. NASA deploys planes, targets satellites to aid in oil spill response
2. Satellites, DNA and dolphins
3. 2 NASA Satellites Capture Last 3 Days of Eyjafjallajokulls Ash Plume
4. Glacier-melting debate highlights importance of satellites
5. Satellites show how Earth moved during Italy quake
6. European satellites provide new insight into ozone-depleting species
7. Satellites search out South Pole snowfields
8. ESA satellites flying in formation
9. ESA satellites focusing on the Arctic
10. Value of satellites recognized for conserving wetlands
11. Satellites helping aid workers in Honduras
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Satellites pinpoint drivers of urban heat islands in the northeast
(Date:5/23/2017)... 2017  Hunova, the first robotic gym for the rehabilitation and functional ... in Genoa, Italy . The first 30 robots will ... USA . The technology was developed and patented at ... IIT spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to a 10 million euro investment from ... click: ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), ... and identity verification solutions, announced today they will participate ... May 15 thru May 17, 2017, in ... Trade Center. Identity impacts the lives ... today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is critical ...
(Date:5/16/2017)...   Bridge Patient Portal , an enterprise ... EMR Systems , an electronic medical record solutions ... established a partnership to build an interface between ... Centricity™ products, including Centricity Practice Solution (CPS), Centricity ... new integrations will allow healthcare delivery networks using ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 25, 2017 , ... Activate Healthcare, a leading ... of America’s fastest growing private companies, has selected Twine for its Employee Health ... through its transformative model that empowers deep collaboration and behavior change. In randomized ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... Yorba Linda, Ca (PRWEB) , ... May 25, ... ... a number of Terumo BCT case studies, describing how process development ... learn from new results of T-cell expansion using a hollow-fiber bioreactor system, along ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 25, 2017 , ... Studying biological events ... occurrence. Live cell imaging using fluorescence microscopy is the perfect approach to explore ... microscopy methods will be discussed, from small animal models and tissues to individual ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 25, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the ... and scientists from around the world, is announcing a new textbook scholarship, the second ... undergraduate and graduate students, 17 years or older, pursuing a degree in one of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: