Home ITCResearchPhD at ITCPhD projectsEstimation of surface heat fluxes over urban areas from remote sensing

Estimation of surface heat fluxes over urban areas from remote sensing

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Student:J. Du
Timeline:December 2013 - 1 December 2020

In urban areas, natural surfaces (e.g. grass, crops, and soil) are replaced with impervious built-up surfaces (e.g. concrete, asphalt), changing the land surface thermal and radiative properties as well as surface roughness in comparison with rural areas. This leads to modifications of the surface energy balance, which governs the momentum, heat and mass transfer between the surface and the atmosphere, thus impacts dynamic processes in the Urban Boundary Layer, and ultimately influences the local, regional and even global climate. Given the increasing urban population, rapid urban sprawl, and the more frequent occurrence of heat waves, studying the surface energy budget over urban areas and its relationship with urbanization is imperative.

Figure 1 Photographic view from the roof of Esmarke building

The overall object of this project is to estimate the urban surface energy balance using ground and spaceborne remote sensing measurements combined with meteorological observations. This project will  focus on urban materials and 3D geometry induced influence on city climate.

Figure 2 XLAS Receiver at Horst Building on UT Campus

An observation network will be set up in Enschede, including a thermal camera, an eddy covariance system, an extra large aperture scintillometer (XLAS), radiometers, rain gauges, a sonic anemometer and temperature profile measurements, aiming at getting a better knowledge of the surface-atmosphere interaction processes over urban areas.

Different retrieval methods of aerodynamic properties from surface morphology will be evaluated with the aid of high-resolution LiDAR DEM. Following in-situ data analysis and comparison of different Surface Energy Balance (SEB) algorithms, an improved remote sensing based urban SEB model will be developed and validated over Enschede and Beijing.

Meet the team

J. Du
PhD Candidate
prof.dr. Z. Su
dr.ir. W.J. Timmermans
Prof. dr. Yaoming Ma
Research theme
Water Cycle and Climate

Water, food and energy security and environmental safety are key challenges to our societies. Better water resources management requires a fundamental understanding of the water cycle, water climate and water ecosystem interactions and impacts of human activities in the Earth’s climate system. Quantitative earth observation, hydrological modelling and data assimilation provide a powerful combination to quantify hydroclimatic variables for effectively addressing water management issues across the globe.

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