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A novel approach for anthropogenic heat flux estimation from space

Conference contribution
Authors Nektarios Chrysoulakis
Thomas Esch
Jean-Phillipe Gastellu-Etchegorry
CSB Grimmond
Eberhard Parlow
Fredrik Lindberg
Fabio Del Frate
Judith Klostermann
Zina Mitraka
Published in ICUC9 – 9 th International Conference on Urban Climate jointly with 12th Symposium on the Urban Environment. 20-24 July 2015, Toulouse, France
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Subject categories Climate Research, Physical Geography, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


How people live, work, move from place to place, what they consume and the technology they use, all affect the fabric, morphology and emissions in a city and in turn its climate. To understand the relations between urban form, energy use and carbon emissions an important challenge is to disaggregate urban areas into different spatial units and evaluate their impacts on energy fluxes and greenhouse gas emissions. There is a need in Earth system science communities for spatially disaggregated anthropogenic heat data, at local and city scales. The anthropogenic heat flux is the heat flux resulting from vehicular emissions, space heating and cooling of buildings, industrial processing and the metabolic heat release by people. Such information is practically impossible to derive by point in-situ flux measurements, while satellite remote sensing has proven a valuable tool for estimating energy budget parameters exploiting Earth Observation (EO) data. While EO data are widely used for urban studies, their main application area is limited to land cover mapping and similar applications. Nevertheless, currently available EO data and forthcoming satellite systems can considerably contribute to the study of urban climate. To this aim the recently launched H2020 project URBANFLUXES (URBan ANthrpogenic heat FLUX from Earth observation Satellites) investigates the potential of EO to retrieve anthropogenic heat flux, as a key component in the urban energy budget. The urban energy budget is considered in the context of a volume because of the three dimensional nature of the city, and includes the fluxes into, or out of, or the storage change within the control volume. URBANFLUXES advances existing EO-based methods for estimating spatial patterns of turbulent sensible and latent heat fluxes, as well as urban heat storage flux at city scale and local scale. Independent methods and models are engaged to evaluate the derived products and statistical analyses provide uncertainty measures. Optical, thermal and SAR data from existing satellite sensors are exploited to improve the accuracy of the energy budget components spatial distribution calculation. Synergistic use of different types and of various resolution EO data allows estimates in local and city scale. In-situ reflectance measurements of urban materials for calibration. The URBANFLUXES project prepares the ground for further innovative exploitation of EO data in scientific activities involving Earth system modelling and climate change studies in cities. The URBANFLUXES products will support system models to provide more robust climate simulations. Ultimate goal of the URBANFLUXES is to develop a highly automated method for estimating urban energy budget components to use with Copernicus Sentinel data, enabling its integration into applications and operational services. The improved data quality, spatial coverage and revisit times of the Copernicus data will allow support of future emerging applications regarding sustainable urban planning, with the objective of improving the quality of life in cities.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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