Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2010 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Does spatial configuration matter? Understanding the effects of land cover pattern on land surface temperature in urban landscapes
Zhou, Weiqi
Co-Authors: Ganlin Huang, and Mary L Cadenasso

Abstract: Urban heat island (UHI) describes the difference between urban and non-urban ambient air temperatures. The differences in air temperature are due, in part, to surface modifications brought about by urbanization. Understanding the link between the pattern of land cover and the UHI is a prerequisite for designing effective mechanisms to mitigate the impact of urbanization on the UHI. The effects of land cover composition on land surface temperature (LST) have been extensively documented. Few studies, however, have examined the effects of the spatial arrangement, or configuration, of those land cover features. We investigated the effects of both the composition and configuration of land cover features on LST in Baltimore, MD. Correlation analysis and multiple linear regressions were used to examine the quantitative relationships between LST and land cover composition and configuration. The results indicate that both the composition and configuration significantly affect the magnitude of LST. This suggests that the impact of urbanization on UHI can be mitigated not only by balancing the relative amounts of various land cover features, for example, increasing tree canopy, but also by optimizing their spatial configuration. This research expands our scientific understanding of the effects of land cover pattern on UHI by explicitly quantifying the effect of configuration. In addition, it provides important insights for urban planners and natural resource managers on how to mitigate the impact of urban development on UHI through urban design and vegetation management.