Project Title: Quantifying the direction and magnitude of global and local climate change on urban ecosystems
Supervisors/ Supervisor: Prof Alfredo Huete
It is hypothesized that vegetation (such as grass, trees and shrubs) in urban and peri urban regions acts as a barrier against local and global climate modification, making the urban systems sustainable and resilient. However, rapid growth in urbanization, landscape and land use alterations along with projected increases in global hydro-meteorological extreme events may intensify the eco-system functioning in urban and surrounding areas by amplifying the local thermal climates. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC (2014) reports the increased pressure from human such as population growth, economic development and urbanization as one of the likely risk. On the other hand, global warming and climate change is in evident risk as IPCC (2014) reports raise in the global surface temperatures over the 21st century under all assessed emission scenarios. It is likely that the increasing pressure of urbanization on the expense of landscape will increase demands for land and water use (Boegh, Poulsen et al. 2009) ultimately affecting the local energy demands and carbon cycle. Furthermore, it will ultimately intensify the ecological functioning of urban and peri-urban systems, and the losses in species diversity, replacement of native grass with exotic species, and pasture livestock grazing practices that may modify vegetation phenology (maturity, flowering, and pollinating periods) in unknown ways (Stefanov and Netzband 2005, Meehl, Stocker et al. 2007, Grimm, Faeth et al. 2008).
Aim: The aim of project is to quantify the impacts of local and global climate variability on urban eco-system functioning in urban and surrounding areas. Furthermore, the esearch will be carried out to map and analyse local thermal climate modification, such as characterising and mapping the urban heat island effect, impacts on phenology and flowering seasons in urban vegetation, and finding out the resilience in different groups within urban. Initially the research will be carried out for Australian cities such as Sydney primarily and then depending on results be expanded and tested for Melbourne and Brisbane. Finally the research will be expanded for international citiesin North America such as Arizona or Hawaii. Since remote sensing applications provide systematic and consistent images of earth and provide a powerful tool to overcome the constraints in in-situ and consistent measurements on regional and continental scale; this project will utilise the remote sensing data along with in situ measurements. The PhD is part of ARC Project titled, “Impacts of Extreme Hydro-meteorological Conditions on Eco-system Functioning and Productivity Patterns across Australia”.
UTS Presidential Scholarship
UTS International Research Scholarship (UTS IRS)