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Masdar Institute Takes Research on ‘Urban Heat Island’ Effect to Dubai and Doha

Prestigious Journal Publishes Masdar Institute Faculty’s First In-Depth Study on Climate of Desert Cities

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 06 February, 2013 – Masdar Institute of Science of Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced its research into ‘urban heat island’ effects in the Abu Dhabi metropolitan area is being extended to cover Dubai and Doha.

This is the first time urban climate of desert cities gets investigated at such great depth. The research projects in Dubai and Doha will start later this year.

The study on Abu Dhabi titled ‘Temperature-land cover interactions: The inversion of urban heat island phenomenon in desert city areas’, has been recently published in the prestigious journal Remote Sensing of Environment. It was co-authored by Dr. Michele Lazzarini, Postdoctoral Researcher at Masdar Institute, Dr. Hosni Ghedira, Director, UAE Research Centre for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment, and Prashanth Reddy Marpu, Researcher at Masdar Institute.

Remote Sensing of Environment is an interdisciplinary journal that publishes results on theory, science, applications and technology of remote sensing of earth resources and environment.

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The extension of the urban heat island project that covers the Abu Dhabi metropolitan areas to Dubai and Doha bears testimony to the highly relevant nature of our research not only to the UAE but the entire region. With the guidance and vision of the country’s leadership, Masdar Institute’s research projects are being acknowledged and adopted widely. We hope the outcome of this research will help formulate better city planning and smart urban development measures.”

Dr. Ghedira said: “In dynamic environments such as urban areas, the changing landscape affects quality of life and it can have a significant impact on the local climate. The analysis of these changes is therefore essential for several decision-making processes. This paper aims to provide a detailed study of a particular scenario that investigates the relationship between land cover and Land Surface Temperature (LST) trend in the desert environment of the UAE, with a case study of Abu Dhabi City.”

‘Urban heat island’ is the tendency of metropolitan areas to be significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas. Generally, inner cities have warmer temperatures than the suburban areas. However, in desert environments such as Abu Dhabi, this phenomenon is frequently inverted. One of the main reasons for this inversion is the relatively high amount of vegetation in urban areas compared to the suburbs, where bare ground and abundant sand trap more heat.

Dr. Michele Lazzarini was the lead researcher in this study where he investigated the land cover and temperature interactions in Abu Dhabi metropolitan area for the period between 2000 and 2010. These studies provide valuable insights for the analysis of urban environment as well as assistance in various decision-making processes for city planning and development.

Dr Ghedira was closely involved in the development and launching of the global solar and wind atlas during the third annual conference of the member states of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) during the World Future Energy Summit 2013 in Abu Dhabi. The Global Atlas for solar and wind brings together solar insolation data and wind speed and direction to show where the greatest potential lies for both technologies. Although the Atlas currently only includes solar and wind resources, other technologies such as wave and tidal power can be added in the future.

Before moving to the UAE, Dr Ghedira spent six years at the City University of New York as assistant professor and research associate professor. He also acted as director of the Environmental Remote Sensing and Image Processing Laboratory at the NOAA Cooperative Remote Sensing Science & Technology Center (NOAA-CREST) in New York for more than four years.
Dr. Ghedira’s current research activities include application of remote sensing in environmental monitoring; solar and wind potential mapping; water resources management in water-scarce regions; satellite image processing; and remote sensing algorithm development. Dr. Ghedira has authored and co-authored more than 80 publications in peer-reviewed journals and referred conference proceedings. He has also supervised four PhD theses and 15 M.Sc. theses in the US and the UAE. Over the last two years, Dr. Ghedira has participated as invited speaker, panelist and session chair in several international conferences and forums covering solar resource assessment and solar technologies.
In his capacity as Director of the Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment at Masdar Institute, Dr. Ghedira has lead the effort to develop regional knowledge and leadership in renewable energy assessment and mapping for the Arabian Peninsula and countries with similar climate through partnership with regional and international partners. The Center is now recognized as an international leader in solar resource assessment in arid and dusty environments.
Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.
Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.  With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.
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