Mesoscale and microscale evaluation of surface pavement impacts on the urban heat island effects

The global phenomenon of rapid urbanization is forcing the transition of native vegetation to man-made engineered surfaces resulting in the urban heat island (UHI) effect. The UHI can adversely impact the sustainability of regions by increasing the dependence of mechanical cooling which results in increased greenhouse gas emissions, consumption of water in the thermoelectric process and increased costs of living for regional residents. The UHI can also increase the incidence and severity of heat related illnesses as well as alter sensitive ecological systems. Mesoscale remote sensing was acquired and reviewed to identify the role of surface pavements on the UHI in the Phoenix region. The imagery provided coarse visual representation of the paved surfaces, including local roads, highways and parking lots pavements; they showed a noteworthy role in regards to the UHI as well as distinguishing
variability of surface temperatures related to spatial patterns, pavement material type, location and surrounding landscape. Remote sensing was also used to demonstrate the usefulness of capturing and analyzing surface materials, comparing soil and vegetation indices, albedo and surface temperatures. Handheld IR thermography was also utilized in examining contributing factors and mitigation techniques to the UHI. The findings of this study indicated that both mesoscale satellite remote sensing imagery and microscale handheld IR thermography are useful tools for defining and evaluating pavement surfaces temperatures and their contribution to the UHI. However, both have limitations in their use based on the study of interest.

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Source: The International Journal of Pavement Engineering

Publication Date: March 2006

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