Award Date

12-1-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Committee Member

Haroon Stephen

Second Committee Member

Jacimaria Batista

Third Committee Member

Sajjad Ahmad

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel Thompson

Number of Pages

107

Abstract

Modified urban climate regions that are warmer than rural areas at night are referred to as Urban Heat Islands or UHI. Islands of warmer air over a city can be 12 degrees Celsius greater than the surrounding cooler air. The exponential growth in Las Vegas for the last two decades provides an opportunity to detect gradual temperature changes influenced by an increasing presence of urban materials. This thesis compares ground based thermometric observations and satellite based remote sensing temperature observations to identify temperature trends and UHI areas caused by urban development.

Analysis of temperature trends between 2000 and 2010 at ground weather stations has revealed a general cooling trend in the Las Vegas region. Results show that urban development accompanied by increased vegetation has a cooling effect in arid climates. Analysis of long term temperature trends at McCarran and Nellis weather stations show 2.4 K and 1.2 K rise in temperature over the last 60 years.

The ground weather station temperature data is related to the land surface temperature images from the Landsat Thematic Mapper to estimate and evaluate urban heat island intensity for Las Vegas. Results show that spatial and temporal trends of temperature are related to the gradual change in urban landcover. UHI are mainly observed at the airport and in the industrial areas. This research provides useful insight into the temporal behavior of the Las Vegas area.

Keywords

Earth temperature; Geographic information systems; Landsat; Land surface temperature; Nevada – Las Vegas Valley; Normalized difference vegetation index; Thermal infrared; Urban heat island; Urban plants; Weather underground

Disciplines

Climate | Remote Sensing

Language

English


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