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Spatial–temporal patterns of urban anthropogenic heat discharge in Fuzhou, China, observed from sensible heat flux using Landsat TM/ETM+ data

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The urban heat island (UHI) effect is the phenomenon of increased surface temperatures in urban environments compared to their surroundings. It is linked to decreased vegetation cover, high proportions of artificial impervious surfaces, and high proportions of anthropogenic heat discharge. We evaluated the surface heat balance to clarify the contribution of anthropogenic heat discharges into the urban thermal environment. We used a heat balance model and satellite images (Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) images acquired in 1989 and 2001), together with meteorological station data to assess the urban thermal environment in the city of Fuzhou, China. The objective of this study was to estimate the anthropogenic heat discharge in the form of sensible heat flux in complex urban environments. In order to increase the accuracy of the anthropogenic heat flux analysis, the sub-pixel fractional vegetation cover (FVC) was calculated by linear spectral unmixing. The results were then used to estimate latent heat flux in urban areas and to separate anthropogenic heat discharge from heat radiation due to insolation. Spatial and temporal distributions of anthropogenic heat flux were analysed as a function of land-cover type, percentage of impervious surface area, and FVC. The accuracy of heat fluxes was assessed using the ratios of sensible heat flux (H), latent heat flux (L), and ground heat flux (G) to net radiation (R n), which were compared to the results from other studies. It is apparent that the contribution of anthropogenic heat is smaller in suburban areas and larger in high-density urban areas. However, seasonal disparities of anthropogenic heat discharge are small, and the variance of anthropogenic heat discharge is influenced by urban expansion, land-cover change, and increasing energy consumption. The results suggest that anthropogenic heat release probably plays a significant role in the UHI effect, and must be considered in urban climate change adaptation strategies. Remote sensing can play a role in mapping the spatial and temporal patterns of UHIs and can differentiate the anthropogenic heat from the solar radiative fluxes. The findings presented here have important implications for urban development planning.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: College of Geography,Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou,350007, P.R. China 2: Centre for Landscape and Climate Research & Department of Geography,University of Leicester, Leicester,LE1 7RH, UK

Publication date: February 20, 2013

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