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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-64
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-64
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 30 Apr 2019

Research article | 30 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Understanding Spatiotemporal Development of Human Settlement in Hurricane-prone Areas on U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts using Nighttime Remote Sensing

Xiao Huang, Cuizhen Wang, and Junyu Lu Xiao Huang et al.
  • Department of Geography, University of South Carolina, Columbia, 29208, U.S.A

Abstract. Hurricanes, as one of the most devastating natural disasters, have posed great threats to people in coastal areas. A better understanding of spatiotemporal dynamics of human settlement in hurricane-prone areas is demanded for sustainable development. This study uses the DMSP/OLS nighttime light (NTL) data sets from 1992 to 2013 to examine human settlement development in areas with different levels of hurricane proneness. The DMSP/OLS NTL data from six satellites were intercalibrated and desaturated with AVHRR and MODIS optical imagery to derive the vegetation-adjusted NTL urban index (VANUI), a popular index that quantifies human settlement intensity. The derived VANUI time series was examined with the Mann-Kendall test and Theil-Sen test to identify significant spatiotemporal trends. To link the VANUI product to hurricane impacts, four hurricane-prone zones were extracted to represent different levels of hurricane proneness. Aside from geographic division, a wind-speed weighted track density function was developed and applied to historical North Atlantic Basin (NAB)-origin storm tracks to better categorize the four levels of hurricane proneness. Spatiotemporal patterns of human settlement in the four zones were finally analyzed. The results clearly exhibit a north-south and inland-coastal discrepancy of human settlement dynamics. This study also reveals that both the zonal extent and zonal increase rate of human settlement positively correlate with hurricane proneness levels. The intensified human settlement in high hurricane-exposure zones deserves further attention for coastal resilience.

Xiao Huang et al.
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Xiao Huang et al.
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Short summary
This study examined the spatiotemporal dynamics of nighttime satellite-derived human settlement in response to different levels of hurricane proneness in a period of 1992–2013. It confirms the Snow Belt-to-Sun Belt U.S population shift trend. The results also suggest that hurricane-exposed human settlement has grown in extent and area with more hurricane-exposure has experienced larger increase rate in settlement intensity.
This study examined the spatiotemporal dynamics of nighttime satellite-derived human settlement...
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