Nav: Home

New algorithm provides a more detailed look at urban heat islands

December 07, 2018

The concept of an urban heat island (UHI), a phenomenon in which urban areas are significantly warmer than the surrounding rural areas, is not new. The methodology for estimating UHIs, however, is constantly changing, creating a wide array of differing data points.

Now, thanks to TC Chakraborty, global UHI estimates based on a consistent methodology are available for public consumption -- in a way that's more detailed and easier to understand than ever before.

Chakraborty, a third-year Ph.D. student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), recently completed his development of the simplified urban-extent (SUE) algorithm, which can estimate the surface UHI intensity at a global scale. The dataset created was first validated against the results of previous studies to demonstrate the suitability of the method and then used to investigate the diurnal, seasonal, and temporal trends of the UHI.

"I believe this is most comprehensive urban heat island database available," said Chakraborty, who co-authored a paper published in the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation on the algorithm with Xuhui Lee, the Sara Shallenberger Brown Professor of Meteorology.

What sets the map apart from other similar studies, Chakraborty said, is the scope and methodological consistency. Typically, urban heat islands are determined by taking the temperature of a major city at its geographic center and comparing it to the temperature of a buffer area around the city. Chakraborty's map, the Global Surface UHI Explorer, takes into account "urban agglomerations instead of administrative definitions of cities" across the world, he said, and thus removes the need for buffers.

The algorithm is currently plugged into the Google Earth platform and can be used to visualize the seasonal and temporal trends of the UHI for almost any urban area on Earth.

"Most studies focus on single cities, or just major cities," said Chakraborty, "and that leads to biased estimates of the global urban heat island intensity." This map, he said, does not discriminate based on the size of the city and includes surface UHI intensity estimates of over 10,000 urban clusters from across the globe.

Chakraborty, who spent roughly two years developing the algorithm, believes the map will be a valuable tool as a public database for researchers, as well as city planners and policymakers who are looking for ways to lower the temperature of their cities in the face of global warming. Another update to the map, which will incorporate more current and higher resolution satellite images, is currently in development.
-end-


Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Related Algorithm Articles:

Skoltech scientists break Google's quantum algorithm
In the near term, Google has devised new quantum enhanced algorithms that operate in the presence of realistic noise.
The most human algorithm
A team from the research group SEES:lab of the Department of Chemical Engineering of the Universitat Rovira I Virgili and ICREA has made a breakthrough with the development of a new algorithm that makes more accurate predictions and generates mathematical models that also make it possible to understand these predictions.
Algorithm turns cancer gene discovery on its head
Prediction method could help personalize cancer treatments and reveal new drug targets.
New algorithm predicts gestational diabetes
Timely prediction may help prevent the condition using nutritional and lifestyle changes.
New algorithm could mean more efficient, accurate equipment for Army
Researchers working on an Army-funded project have developed an algorithm to simulate how electromagnetic waves interact with materials in devices to create equipment more efficiently and accurately.
Universal algorithm set to boost microscopes
EPFL scientists have developed an algorithm that can determine whether a super-resolution microscope is operating at maximum resolution based on a single image.
Algorithm designed to map universe, solve mysteries
Cornell University researchers have developed an algorithm designed to visualize models of the universe in order to solve some of physics' greatest mysteries.
Algorithm tells robots where nearby humans are headed
A new tool for predicting a person's movement trajectory may help humans and robots work together in close proximity.
Algorithm to transform investment banking with higher returns
A University of Bath researcher has created an algorithm which aims to remove the elements of chance, bias or emotion from investment banking decisions, a development which has the potential to reduce errors in financial decision making and improve financial returns in global markets.
Algorithm provides customized caffeine strategy for alertness
A web-based caffeine optimization tool successfully designs effective strategies to maximize alertness while avoiding excessive caffeine consumption, according to preliminary results from a new study.
More Algorithm News and Algorithm Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Space
One of the most consistent questions we get at the show is from parents who want to know which episodes are kid-friendly and which aren't. So today, we're releasing a separate feed, Radiolab for Kids. To kick it off, we're rerunning an all-time favorite episode: Space. In the 60's, space exploration was an American obsession. This hour, we chart the path from romance to increasing cynicism. We begin with Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan, with a story about the Voyager expedition, true love, and a golden record that travels through space. And astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson explains the Coepernican Principle, and just how insignificant we are. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.