Remotely Sensed Nightlights to Map Societal Exposure to Hydrometeorological Hazards
2015 (English)In: Remote Sensing, ISSN 2072-4292, E-ISSN 2072-4292, Vol. 7, no 9, 12380-12399 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This study used remotely sensed maps of nightlights to investigate the etiology of increasing disaster losses from hydrometeorological hazards in a data-scarce area. We explored trends in the probability of occurrence of hazardous events (extreme rainfall) and exposure of the local population as components of risk. The temporal variation of the spatial distribution of exposure to hydrometeorological hazards was studied using nightlight satellite imagery as a proxy. Temporal (yearly) and spatial (1 km) resolution make them more useful than official census data. Additionally, satellite nightlights can track informal (unofficial) human settlements. The study focused on the Samala River catchment in Guatemala. The analyses of disasters, using DesInventar Disaster Information Management System data, showed that fatalities caused by hydrometeorological events have increased. Such an increase in disaster losses can be explained by trends in both: (i) catchment conditions that tend to lead to more frequent hydrometeorological extremes (more frequent occurrence of days with wet conditions); and (ii) increasing human exposure to hazardous events (as observed by amount and intensity of nightlights in areas close to rivers). Our study shows the value of remote sensing data and provides a framework to explore the dynamics of disaster risk when ground data are spatially and temporally limited.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 7, no 9, 12380-12399 p.
Natural disasters trends, nighttime satellite images, nightlights, exposure mapping, local scale, Guatemala
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-260706DOI: 10.3390/rs70912380ISI: 000362511400065OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-260706DiVA: diva2:848059
FunderSida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, 54100006