New York City Urban Development

Compilation of processed provisional land surface temperature data from 1990-2019 acquired by Landsat 4-8. The City of New York, located in Southeast New York State is displayed. Blue hues represent areas where temperatures are less than the average mean. Orange to red hues show areas equal to or higher than the mean temperature. Areas in red are hotspots within the city. These are areas where policymakers should focus green initiatives on to reduce extreme heat.

Keywords: Landsat, Urban Heat, Hotspots, New York City, Extreme Weather

Mapping Hotspots using NASA Earth Observations to Inform Future Green Initiatives in New York City

The effect of urban hotspots is a growing public health concern. In the face of climate change and urbanization, city dwellers are at increasing risk for heat-related illness and mortality. New York City (NYC) is especially vulnerable to heat-related illness because of extreme population density and projected population growth. A plan to mitigate the dangers of future heat-related illness is paramount. This project utilized NASA Earth observations to identify hotspots from 1990-2019 within the five boroughs of NYC and create geodatabases of hotspot locations, land use, and land cover. Earth observations utilized included Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+), and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS). Location of hotspots were spatially and temporally mapped in conjunction with land use and land cover change obtained from the National Land Cover Database (NLCD). Both hotspot location and intensity changed throughout time, and occurrence of temperature hot spots tended to match zonal features. Results show that higher than average temperatures correlated to increased development while lower than average temperatures were associated with vegetation, bare land, and open water. Our partners at the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Resiliency and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will utilize the results to inform green initiatives, helping to reduce the incidence of heat-related illness in the most at-risk neighborhoods.

Virginia — Langley
Fall 2019
City of New York Mayor’s Office of Resiliency
New York City Department of Health And Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Environmental Surveillance and Policy
NASA Earth Observations
Landsat 4 TM
Landsat 5 TM
Landsat 7 ETM+
Landsat 8 OLI
Landsat 8 TIRS
Scott Harrison (Project Lead)
Josi Robertson
Luis Garcia Falcon
Brianna McCardle
Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA Langley Research Center)
Sydney Neugebauer (NASA Langley Research Center, DEVELOP Fellow)