Technical report

Airborne thermal remote sensing for analysis of the urban heat island

Climate change Urban heat islands satellite remote sensing

Vegetation or ‘green infrastructure’ is commonly promoted as a key approach for urban heat island mitigation, and research has revealed its capacity to support urban cooling. However, little guidance is available on the most effective type and location of green infrastructure to maximise urban cooling to help inform investment in urban greening. Urban planners and designers are turning to tools to help inform investment decisions on green infrastructure for urban heat mitigation.

This report focuses on the collection and use of airborne thermal remote sensing of the urban land surface as a tool for informing policy development and on-ground implementation of urban heat island mitigation strategies. It reviews previous studies to investigate approaches of collecting and using airborne thermal imagery to analyse drivers of high urban surface heating, and hence the urban heat island. This report aims to be a resource for urban policy makers who may consider the use of airborne thermal remote sensing, or other remote sensing products, in informing policy development for urban heat mitigation. It aims to demonstrate both the capability of airborne thermal imagery, how it is used in urban heat island analysis, and to develop guidance on how best to acquire, process, analyse and interpret airborne thermal imagery

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