State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2007AZ219B
Title: Geospatial Analysis of Urban Thermal Gradients: Application to Tucson Arizona's Projected Water Demand
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/ 1/2007
End Date: 6/30/2008
Congressional District: Seventh
Focus Categories: Water Use, Management and Planning, Climatological Processes
Keywords: Urban heat island, geospatial analysis, water demand, urban growth
Principal Investigators: Scott, Christopher A; Comrie, Andrew C.; Yool, Stephen
Federal Funds: $ 12,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 25,140
Abstract: The water budgets of urban and urbanizing areas are hypothetically affected in a significant manner by rising regional temperatures, which have been demonstrated to result from urban heat island effects and broader warming across the Southwest. Both urban and regional warming are projected to increase even further with city growth and climate change. It is therefore important to understand the relation between urban water demand and spatial and temporal temperature trends in urban [-izing] areas. This project proposes to conduct geospatial analysis of Landsat TM thermal infrared data (x, y, t) and DEM (z), thereby generating surfaces of heat source-sink gradients, signatures of the persistence of thermal threshold exceedances, and identifying features or episodes of thermal "reset," e.g., [micro-] topographic cooling corridors, vegetation buffers, or precipitation events. For the Tucson Arizona basin, thermal gradients will be mapped over the period 1984 to the present and spatially correlated to urban growth, urban heat island effects, and water supply. Indoor vs. outdoor water use will be estimated from supply data using temporal disaggregation techniques. Results will be assessed with reference to the growth and water demand scenarios in the Tucson Water Plan 2000-2050. The resulting thermal surfaces and persistence datasets are also expected to be of utility to planners, urban landscape ecologists, and the research community. The project will a) produce a manuscript for submission to a peer-reviewed journal, b) result in multiple proposals for continued investigation targeted particularly at EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) and NSF's Coupled Natural-Human Systems (CNH) programs, and c) support the team's efforts to strengthen the University of Arizona's capability and expertise in the area of human-environmental feedbacks in the rapidly urbanizing Sonoran Desert Ecoregion.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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