Thermal Infrared Remote Sensing for Urban Climate and Environmental Studies: An Application for the City of Bangkok, Thailand

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Manat Srivanit
Kazunori Hokao


Thermal infrared remote sensing has been used over urban areas to assess urban heat islands (UHI), to
perform land cover classifications and as input for models of urban surface atmosphere exchange. In this study,
we review the use of thermal remote sensing in the study of urban climates, focusing primarily on the urban
heat island effect and an integrated remote sensing-based approach to investigate the influences of urbanization
on urban thermals and environment in Bangkok metropolitan area (BMA), Thailand. Three Landsat TM images,
acquired in 1994, 2000 and 2009, were selected to retrieve the surface urban heat island (SUHI). Our analysis
showed that higher temperatures in the SUHI were located with a scattered urban pattern, which was related
to certain land-cover types. It was found that average surface temperature (Mean ± S.D.) in the BMA was about
26.01 ± 5.89°C degrees in 1994, but this difference jumped to 37.76 ± 2.84°C in 2000 and further to 39.79 ±
2.91°C in 2009, respectively. This could lead to an intensified urban heat island effect in the urban areas. The
results of this study can provide methods and basic information for the reduction of urban temperature and the
establishment of environmentally friendly urban planning. Overall, remote sensing technology was an effective
approach for monitoring and analyzing urban growth patterns and evaluating their impacts on urban climates.


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