Remote sensing of temperature variations around major power plants as point sources of heat

Roland Okwen, Ruiliang Pu, Jeffrey Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3791-3805
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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