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Title: The effect of land cover on the air and surface urban heat island of a desert oasis
Author: Al-Ali, Abdulrahman Mubarak H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 7651
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2015
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Cities often experience a distinct climate compared to the surrounding area characterized by differences in air temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and amount of precipitation. Thus far, research on the urban heat island (UHI) effect has focused on cool temperate, Mediterranean and tropical climatic regions, whereas less attention has been given to the study of arid regions where the daytime surface temperature can be extremely high. This study concerns the Al Ahsa oasis, Saudi Arabia, which is a rapidly developing urban centre in an arid region. The aim of this study is to analyze the effect of land cover on the urban and sub-urban environment using ground data and multi-scale and multi-temporal satellite thermal imagery. Land surface temperatures derived from satellite thermal imagery are compared with observations from ground-based fixed and mobile temperature and relative humidity logging stations for periods in February and July. Thermal radiometers from different sensors, Landsat 7 ETM+ and MODIS, were used to measure the outgoing radiation budget at specific locations within the urban landscape. Fieldwork was undertaken contemporary with satellite overpasses to measure the diurnal air temperatures and relative humidity across different land cover types including agriculture, urban, water, exposed rock surfaces, sabkha and sand dunes. These data provide the most complete experiment so far conducted to test and refine models of the thermal radiation budget of the arid zone at the sub-city scale. The findings of this study have emphasized the effectiveness of combining the two methods, ground and satellite data, to investigate the relationship between land cover and UHI intensity. Results reveal a significant relationship between UHI spatial distribution and land cover using the two methods: mobile traverses and remote sensing. The UHI intensity is higher during the summer than the winter and at night-time than in the day. The highest UHI intensity, (10.5 °C), is located over the two major cities in the oasis (Al Hufuf and Al Mubarraz) while the lowest temperatures (- 6.4 °C below UHI), are recorded in the small villages and vegetated areas during summer at night. The outcome of this thesis will help future urban development and planning projects and provide a framework for implementing rules and regulations by local government agencies for a sustainable urban development approach.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available