Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


Planning and Urban Studies

Major Professor

Dr. Mahtab A. Lodhi

Second Advisor

Dr. Germana Peggion

Third Advisor

Dr. Juliette Ioup

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Renia Ehrenfeucht


In 2005, Hurricane Katrina’s diverse impacts on the Greater New Orleans area included damaged and destroyed trees, and other despoiled vegetation, which also increased the exposure of artificial and bare surfaces, known factors that contribute to the climatic phenomenon known as the urban heat island (UHI). This is an investigation of UHI in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which entails the analysis of pre and post-hurricane Katrina thermal imagery of the study area, including changes to surface heat patterns and vegetative cover. Imagery from Landsat TM was used to show changes to the pattern and intensity of the UHI effect, caused by an extreme weather event. Using remote sensing visualization methods, field data, and local knowledge, the author found there was a measurable change in the pattern and intensity of the New Orleans UHI effect, as well as concomitant changes to vegetative land cover. This finding may be relevant for urban planners and citizens, especially in the context of recovery from a large-scale disaster of a coastal city, regarding future weather events, and other natural and human impacts.


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