Remote Sensing of Temperature Variations Around Major Power Plants as Point Sources of Heat

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Variations in land surface temperature (LST) around major point sources of heat were studied using the Tampa Bay region as a case study. LST in the Tampa Bay region, FL, USA, was retrieved from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) 6 and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) 6 high-gain thermal bands. The TM6 image data were obtained on 29 January (winter season) and 3 April 2007 (spring season). The ETM+6 data were obtained on 11 April 2007 (spring season). Spatial profiles of LST around four major fossil-fuelled power plants (FFPPs) were considered in this study. Temperatures were found to be highest at power plants and to decay to an average background temperature within 1.2–2.0 km from the FFPPs. The average background temperatures obtained in January and April were 17°C and 29°C, respectively. Results indicate that LST in close proximity to the FFPPs could be up to 10°C hotter than the surrounding areas. These findings suggest that FFPPs are significant heat sources and populations living within 1–2 km from an FFPP might be at significantly higher risk of heat-related illnesses and mortality.

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International Journal of Remote Sensing, v. 32, issue 13, p. 3791-3805