Interdisciplinary Study of Urbanization and Impacts – the Poplex 2014 Field Campaign

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 2:35 PM
Son V Nghiem1, Marco Masetti2, Stefania Stevenazzi2, Marianna Bonfanti2, Alessio Conforto2, Maria Filippini3, Paolo Fabbri4, Marco Pola4, Alessandro Sorichetta5, Catherine Linard6, Paolo Pampaloni7, Simonetta Palocia7, Emanuele Santi7, Filippo Catani8 and Gregory Neumann1, (1)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra “Ardito Desio”, Milan, Italy, (3)Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, BiGeA Department, Bologna, Italy, (4)Università degli Studi di Padova, Dipartimento di Geoscienze, Padova, Italy, (5)University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom, (6)Free University of Brussells, Geography, Brusells, Belgium, (7)National Research Council (IFAC-CNR), Institute of Applied Physics, Firenze, Italy, (8)University of Firenze, Department of Earth Sciences, Firenze, Italy
Haphazard urban development may have far reaching impacts not only around the urban vicinity but also across regional and perhaps global scales. To investigate urban change and impacts, the PO PLain EXperiment (POPLEX) was conducted in May 2014. The focus of POPLEX was to conduct the most effective study, by closely coordinating the field campaign with the science team in different zones of the Po Plain in northern Italy, and also with an extension to Florence in the Tuscany region. Northern Italy is one of the most populated areas in Europe and most of its cities registered an urban sprawl pattern in the 2000s. In this view, the POPLEX domain represents a pertinent “pilot area” to identify environmental impacts due to urban sprawl. This is to identify and understand the influence of urban characteristics and urban change on important environmental topics such as: (a) groundwater resource quality assessment and management, (b) air quality assessment, and (c) temperature assessment. POPLEX involved 25 participants from 15 institutions from 5 countries using data from 12 satellites and extensive field networks including approximately 220 meteorological stations, 170 air monitoring stations, hundreds of groundwater monitoring wells, and 20 river gauges together with demographic census data and detailed survey maps of land cover and land use. Innovative processing, with the Dense Sampling Method and Rosette Transform applied to satellite scatterometer data, has allowed a successful development of a spatially and temporally consistent dataset delineating urban extension and thus to monitor the annual rate of changes, in each pixel of a 1-km grid, throughout the decade of 2000s across the landscape without spatial gaps. Such dataset enables the introduction of the time dimension into dynamic analyses combining both anthropogenic and natural factors including atmospheric, geophysical, and hydrogeological characteristics of each study area. Initial results have been obtained and will be presented on: (i) accelerated urbanization gradient in Milan transition areas, (ii) air pollution over urban areas and its constrain in the Po Plain surrounded by mountains, (iii) water contaminations due to urbanization in Lombardy, and (iv) hot-spot urbanization pattern of new built-up pockets in the Florence-Prato plain.