Land Characterization Analysis of Surface Temperature of Semi-Arid Mountainous City Abha, Saudi Arabia Using Remote Sensing and GIS


This knowledge of land surface temperature and its spatial variations within a city environment is of prime importance to the study of urban climate and human-environment interactions. Few studies have examined the influence of land use and terrain on the surface temperature effects of semi-arid mountainous urban areas. This study investigates the urban environment characterization and its effects on surface temperature using remote sensing. The methodologies adapted for this study are geometric and radiometric corrections of satellite data, extraction of land use/land cover and digital elevation model, estimation of vegetation density using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and estimation of surface temperature and emissivity using temperature emissivity separation (TES) algorithm. Finally geospatial model and statistical techniques are used for assessing the overall impact of urban environmental characterization on urban climate of semi-arid region of Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Herein, results reveal that the spatial distribution of surface temperature was affected by land use/land cover (LULC) and topography. The high dense built-up and commercial/industrial areas display higher surface temperature in comparison with surrounding lands. There is gradual decrease of LULC classes’ surface temperature with the increase in altitude. The cooling effect towards the surrounding urban built-up area is found increasing at the hill located vegetated area, the downward slope and valley terrain inside the recreational park. Therefore the spatial variation in surface temperature also reflected the effects of topography on LULC classes. Suitable mountainous land use utilization would help to expand the cooling effect. In the future, the outcomes of this study could be used to build environmentally sustainable urban planning suitable to semi-arid regions and to create practices that consider the local weather environment in urban planning.

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Mallick, J. (2014) Land Characterization Analysis of Surface Temperature of Semi-Arid Mountainous City Abha, Saudi Arabia Using Remote Sensing and GIS. Journal of Geographic Information System, 6, 664-676. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2014.66055.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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