Monitoring Urbanization-Related Land Cover Change on the U.S. Great Plains and Impacts on Remotely Sensed Vegetation Dynamics

Monday, 15 December 2014
Cole Philip Krehbiel, Trisha Jackson and Geoffrey M Henebry, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, United States
Earth is currently in an era of rapid urban growth with >50% of global population living in urban areas. Urbanization occurs alongside urban population growth, as cities expand to meet the demands of increasing population. Consequently, there is a need for remote sensing research to detect, monitor, and measure urbanization and its impacts on the biosphere. Here we used MODIS and Landsat data products to (1) detect urbanization-related land cover changes, (2) investigate urbanization-related impacts on land surface phenology (LSP) across rural to urban gradients and (3) explore fractional vegetation and impervious surface area regionally across the US Great Plains and within 14 cities in this region. We used the NLCD Percent Impervious Surface Area (%ISA) and Land Cover Type (LCT) products from 2001, 2006, and 2011 for 30m classification of the peri-urban environment. We investigated the impacts of urbanization-related land cover change on urban LSP at 30m resolution using the NDVI product from Web Enabled Landsat Data (http://weld.cr.usgs.gov) with accumulated growing degree-days calculated from first-order weather stations. We fitted convex quadratic LSP models to a decade (2003-2012) of observations to yield these phenometrics: modeled peak NDVI, time (thermal and calendar) to modeled peak, duration of season (DOS), and model fit. We compared our results to NDVI from MODIS NBAR (500m) and we explored the utility of 4 µm radiance (MODIS band 23) at 1 km resolution to characterize fractional vegetation dynamics in and around urbanized areas. Across all 14 cities we found increases in urbanized area (>25 %ISA) exceeding 10% from 2001-2011. Using LSP phenometrics, we were able to detect changes from cropland to suburban LCTs. In general we found negative relationships between DOS and distance from city center. We found a distinct seasonal cycle of MIR radiance over cropland LCTs due to the spectral contrast between bare soils and green vegetation.