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Huang, X., Wang, C., & Lu, J. (2019). Understanding Spatiotemporal Development of Human Settlement in Hurricane-prone Areas on U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts using Nighttime Remote Sensing. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, , 1–22.
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.