Iloilo City buildings, tree survey vs urban heat

ILOILO City is one of seven recipient cities undergoing the building and vegetation annotation survey being conducted in downtown area and along the banks of waterway until November 29.

The data gathered will be used for the micro-climate modeling of two sub-sites: the Calle Real central business district and the Iloilo River Esplanade, the longest landscaped linear park in the country.

The project is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) and implemented by the University of the Philippines (UP) Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry.

To find ways to mitigate the harmful effects of rising temperatures, they are assessing the development of urban heat islands (UHIs) in rapidly urbanizing and highly urbanized cities in the country using satellites and modelling-simulation techniques.

"A city experiences an urban heat island effect when it has warmer temperatures than nearby rural areas. The materials used in the construction of buildings and establishments, and the lack of trees and vegetation affect the distribution and persistence of heat in a city," DOST-PCIEERD said in a statement.

"Warmer temperatures increase energy consumption, emissions of air

pollutants and greenhouse gases, impair water quality, and compromise human health and comfort," it added.

The project also aims to build and enhance the capacity of city governments in incorporating thermal environment conditions in planning and development toward the attainment of United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal Number 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Project GUHeat or "Geospatial Assessment and Modeling of Urban Heat Islands in Philippine Cities" will harness the power of thermal images from satellites to help the government minimizes the warming of urban heat islands.

The initiative will "even reverse it [urban heat] to decrease electricity consumption and air pollution, reduce health risks and diseases, that will result to greater livability of our cities," said Project Leader Dr. Ariel Blanco.

They will develop Geographic Information System (GIS)-based methods and tools to map, model and characterize UHIs that are easy-to-use by cities which can be accessed through a web-based GIS.

Blanco said they use unmanned aerial systems that have thermal cameras to thoroughly map and determine the changes in Land Surface Temperature (LST) over time. They also laser-scan the cities to produce 3D models for simulation, through which, they will be able to explore possible scenarios and be ready with urban-heat-mitigating measures.

They are studying and evaluating the LST of six other cities of Quezon, Baguio, Cebu, Mandaue, Zamboanga, and Davao using satellite imageries in order to assess the effect of urban heat. (PR)


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