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Greenspace Pattern and the Surface Urban Heat Island: A Biophysically-Based Approach to Investigating the Effects of Urban Landscape Configuration

Department of Geography & Atmospheric Science, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA
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Remote Sens. 2019, 11(19), 2322; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11192322
Received: 23 August 2019 / Revised: 25 September 2019 / Accepted: 1 October 2019 / Published: 5 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Urban Remote Sensing)
Surface urban heat islands (SUHIs) are influenced by the spatial distribution of green space, which in turn can be influenced by urban planning. When studying the relationship between structure and function it is critical that the scale of observation reflects the scale of the phenomenon being measured. To investigate the relationship between green space pattern and the SUHI in the Kansas City metropolitan area, we conducted a multi-resolution wavelet analysis of land surface temperature (LST) to determine the dominant length scales of LST production. We used these scales as extents for calculating landscape metrics on a high-resolution land cover map. We built regression models to investigate whether–controlling for the percent vegetated area–patch size, fragmentation, shape, complexity, and/or proximity can mitigate SUHIs. We found that while some of the relationships between landscape metrics and LST are significant, their explanatory power would be of little use in planning for green infrastructure. We also found that the relationships often reported between landscape metrics and LST are artifacts of the relationship between the percent of vegetation and LST. By using the dominant length scales of LST we provide a methodology for robust biophysically-based analysis of urban landscape pattern and demonstrate that the contributions of green space configuration to the SUHI are negligible. The simple result that increasing green space can lower LST regardless of configuration allows the prioritization of resources towards benefiting neighborhoods most vulnerable to the negative impacts of urban heat. View Full-Text
Keywords: surface urban heat island; green space pattern; dominant length scale; wavelet decomposition; landscape metrics; scaling effects surface urban heat island; green space pattern; dominant length scale; wavelet decomposition; landscape metrics; scaling effects
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Wesley, E.J.; Brunsell, N.A. Greenspace Pattern and the Surface Urban Heat Island: A Biophysically-Based Approach to Investigating the Effects of Urban Landscape Configuration. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 2322.

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