Multi-scale remote sensing estimates of urban fractions and road widths for regional models

Gensuo Jia, Ronghan Xu, Yonghong Hu, Yuting He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Landuse in East Asia has changed substantially during the last three decades, featured with expansion of urban built-up at unprecedented scale and speed. The fast expansion of urban areas could contribute to local and even regional climate change. However, current spatial datasets of urban fractions do not well represent the extent and expansion of urban areas in the regions, and that best available satellite data and remote sensing techniques have not been well applied to serve regional modeling of urbanization impacts on near surface temperature and other climate variables. Better estimates of localized urban fractions are badly needed. Here we use high and mid resolution satellite data to estimate urban fractions and road width at local and regional scales. With our fractional cover, data fusion, and differentiated threshold approaches, more spatial details of urban cover are demonstrated than previously reported in many global datasets. Many city clusters were merging into each other, with gradual blurring of boundaries and disappearance of gaps among member cities. Cities and towns were more connected with roads and commercial corridors, while wildland and urban green areas have become more isolated as patches among built-up areas. Average road width in commercial areas was 37.2 m in Beijing (north, temperate) and 24.2 m in Guangzhou (south, tropical), which are greater than these listed in model default values. Those new estimates could effectively improve climate simulation at local and regional scales in East Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-554
Number of pages12
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science


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