Dr Kavitha Muthu
Kavitha is the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Specialist combining data from different sources (thermal, biomass: satellite, aerial) to carry out spatial analysis and produce output maps.
Dr Kavitha Muthu’s paper on Managing the Built Environment.Download pdf
Managing the Built Environment
Urban areas are characteristically several degrees warmer than surrounding rural areas - this phenomenon is known as the Urban Heat Island effect and has various negative impacts depending on the intensity of the specific urban heat island. In addition to the obvious impacts of increased heat on the health and welfare of residents, the urban heat island effect intensifies air pollution, places a strain on water supply infrastructure and considerably increases energy consumption due to demands for air conditioning and refrigeration. The predicted change in climate has the potential to affect the frequency and magnitude of extreme Urban Heat Island events, making it even more important to gain an understanding of the Urban Heat Island effect.
Accurate thermal infrared data can be gained from satellite instruments, such as Landsat 7’s Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+), and used to map urban heat islands. The surface temperature information is combined with aerial photography, a transport network map and a land cover map in a computer based Geographical Information System (GIS). The GIS can be used in order to identify major ‘hot spots’ contributing to the urban heat island effect and other detailed relationships between the environment and temperature, for example the significant cooling effect of rivers, lakes and parks. This detailed thermal information is important for mitigation purposes in both future urban planning and strategies to manage existing urban environments, such as cool roofs, green roofs, planting trees and vegetation and cool pavements.