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Hands-On Geography

Zooming in from space to understand urban climates

Land cover is an important control on local climate, as it influences the interactions between the Earth’s surface and atmosphere. Changing land cover associated with changes in land use can, therefore, substantially modify local climates.

This is well demonstrated by the urban heat island (UHI) effect, whereby surface and air temperatures of urban areas are frequently higher than neighbouring rural areas.

This project will combine several techniques in order to understand the impacts of urban development on climate across the greater Dunedin landscape. By combining point-based instrumental observations with satellite data that allows surface temperatures to be mapped across the Earth’s surface, we will explore the variability in temperature regimes across urban and rural landscapes and how this relates to different land use and land cover.

The project will involve both field work and computer-based analysis and will provide insight into how urban design and land use decisions can impact local climates and provide mitigations against heat stress associated with climate change.

Learn more about Geography