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Land Use and Land Cover Change, Urban Heat Island Phenomenon, and Health Implications: A Remote Sensing ApproachLand use and land cover maps of Atlanta Metropolitan Area in Georgia were produced from Landsat MSS and TM images for 1973,1979,1983,1987,1992, and 1997, spanning a period of 25 years. Dramatic changes in land use and land cover have occurred with loss of forest and cropland to urban use. In particular, low-density urban use, which includes largely residential use, has increased by over 119% between 1973 and 1997. These land use and land cover changes have drastically altered the land surface characteristics. An analysis of Landsat images revealed an increase in surface temperature and a decline in NDVI from 1973 to 1997. These changes have forced the development of a significant urban heat island effect and an increase in ground level ozone production to such an extent, that Atlanta has violated EPA's ozone level standard in recent years. The urban heat island initiated precipitation events that were identified between 1996 and 2000 tended to occur near high-density urban areas but outside the I-285 loop that traverses around the Central Business District, i.e. not in the inner city area, but some in close proximity to the highways. The health implications were investigated by comparing the spatial patterns of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions, the two ingredients that form ozone by reacting with sunlight, with those of rates of cardiovascular and chronic lower respiratory diseases. A clear core-periphery pattern was revealed for both VOC and NOx emissions, but the spatial pattern was more random in the cases of rates of cardiovascular and chronic lower respiratory diseases. Clearly, factors other than ozone pollution were involved in explaining the rates of these diseases. Further research is therefore needed to understand the health geography and its relationship to land use and land cover change as well as urban heat island effect. This paper illustrates the usefulness of a remote sensing approach for this purpose.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Lo, C. P. (Georgia Univ. Athens, GA, United States)
Quattrochi, Dale A. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Subject Category
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
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