Dynamics of Urbanization Levels in China from 1992 to 2012: Perspective from DMSP/OLS Nighttime Light Data
AbstractThe authenticity and reliability of urbanization levels measured by different indicators in China have not reached a consensus, which may impede our understanding of the process of urbanization and its impacts on the environment. The objective of this study was to describe a reliable method of estimating urbanization level based on the Operational Line-scan System (OLS) on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) nighttime light data and to analyze the dynamics of urbanization levels in China from 1992 to 2012. We calculated the comprehensive urbanization level at the national, provincial, and county scales using a compounded night light index (CNLI) and compared the change rate of CNLI with those of the other two conventional urbanization level indicators, proportion of the nonagricultural population and proportion of built-up area. Our results showed that CNLI derived from the DMSP/OLS data set provided a relatively reliable and accurate measure of the comprehensive urbanization level in China. During the last two decades, China has experienced continued and rapid urbanization with large regional variations. The CNLI increased 3.12 times, from 1.72 × 10−3 to 7.09 × 10−3. The annual increases of CNLI in eastern provinces were much faster than those in western provinces. In addition, we found that the rates of change in these three indicators were consistent for most provinces with the exception of the four municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing) and a few eastern coastal provinces (Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, and Guangdong). Because the imbalance among population growth, urban expansion and socioeconomic development may affect cities’ sustainable development, we should pay more attention to these regions with large disparities between different indicators. View Full-Text
Share & Cite This Article
Gao, B.; Huang, Q.; He, C.; Ma, Q. Dynamics of Urbanization Levels in China from 1992 to 2012: Perspective from DMSP/OLS Nighttime Light Data. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 1721-1735.
Gao B, Huang Q, He C, Ma Q. Dynamics of Urbanization Levels in China from 1992 to 2012: Perspective from DMSP/OLS Nighttime Light Data. Remote Sensing. 2015; 7(2):1721-1735.Chicago/Turabian Style
Gao, Bin; Huang, Qingxu; He, Chunyang; Ma, Qun. 2015. "Dynamics of Urbanization Levels in China from 1992 to 2012: Perspective from DMSP/OLS Nighttime Light Data." Remote Sens. 7, no. 2: 1721-1735.