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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5(2), 11; doi:10.3390/ijgi5020011

An Assessment of Urban Surface Energy Fluxes Using a Sub-Pixel Remote Sensing Analysis: A Case Study in Suzhou, China

Key Laboratory of Water Cycle & Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100094, China
Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Department of Geography, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Mansfield, CT 06269, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Silvia Nittel and Wolfgang Kainz
Received: 5 September 2015 / Revised: 24 January 2016 / Accepted: 25 January 2016 / Published: 4 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geosensor Networks and Sensor Web)
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Urban surface energy fluxes are closely associated with land-cover types (LCTs) and critical biophysical compositions. This study aims to assess the contribution of LCTs, vegetation fractional coverage (VFC) and percentage of impervious surface area (ISA%) to urban surface energy fluxes using remote sensing. An advanced urban surface energy flux algorithm was used to combine satellite imagery and meteorological station data to investigate the thermal environments in the city of Suzhou, China. The land cover abundances retrieved by multiple endmember spectral unmixing analysis (MESMA) were used to retrieve the per-pixel sensible heat flux (H) and latent heat flux (LE). The resultant heat fluxes were assessed using evaporation pan data collected from meteorological stations and ratios of the heat fluxes to the net radiation (Rn). Furthermore, spatial patterns of urban heat energy were investigated using an integrated analysis among land surface temperature (LST), heat fluxes, LCTs, VFC and ISA%. The high values of H and LST were found over the urbanized areas, which also had low values of LE. Conversely, the vegetated area was characterized with high LEs, as well as low LSTs and Hs. Moreover, a statistically-significant correlation (p < 0.05; R2 = 0.88) was observed between LE and VFC at the zonal level, and a statistically-significant correlation (p < 0.05; R2 = 0.90) was exhibited between H and ISA%. It is concluded that VFC, ISA% and LCTs are promising for delineating urban heat fluxes. Overall, this study indicates that remote sensing techniques can be used to quantify urban thermal environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban heat flux; MESMA; surface heat balance; LANDSAT urban heat flux; MESMA; surface heat balance; LANDSAT

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Liu, K.; Fang, J.-Y.; Zhao, D.; Liu, X.; Zhang, X.-H.; Wang, X.; Li, X.-K. An Assessment of Urban Surface Energy Fluxes Using a Sub-Pixel Remote Sensing Analysis: A Case Study in Suzhou, China. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5, 11.

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