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Seeberg, Gereon; Hostlowsky, Antonia; Huber, Julia; Kamm, Julia; Lincke, Lucia; Schwingshackl, Clemens (2022): Evaluating the Potential of Landsat Satellite Data to Monitor the Effectiveness of Measures to Mitigate Urban Heat Islands: A Case Study for Stuttgart (Germany). Urban Science, 6 (4). p. 82. ISSN 2413-8851

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The urban heat island (UHI) effect is a serious health risk for people living in cities and thus calls for effective mitigation strategies in urban areas. Satellite data enable monitoring of the surface urban heat island (SUHI) over large areas at high spatial resolution. Here we analysed SUHI in the city of Stuttgart (Germany) based on land surface temperature (LST) data from Landsat at 30 m resolution. The overall SUHI in Stuttgart decreased by 1.4 °C between the investigated time periods 2004–2008 and 2016–2020, while the absolute LST increased by 2.5 °C. We identified local hotspots of strong warming and cooling in Stuttgart through the change in SUHI and categorised them based on the predominant land cover change occurring at the hotspot using the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from Landsat as well as visual information on land cover changes from Google Earth Pro. The establishment of green roofs, as well as albedo changes, are predominantly responsible for cooling spots, while warming spots are mostly associated with the sealing of surfaces. This highlights that vegetation has a dominant influence on SUHI development in Stuttgart. Combining satellite-based LST data with visual information thus provides an effective method to identify local warming and cooling hotspots, which allows monitoring of the success of city policies against heat stress and guides future policy.

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