Urban Landscape Assessment of the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast using Landsat Imagery 1973-2015
Sherif, Abdalla R.
CommitteeGabriel, Nathaniel J.
Ambinakudige, Shrinidhi S.
This study aims to conduct an assessment of the land cover change of the Mississippi and Alabama coastal region, an integral part of the Gulf Coast ecological makeup. Landsat satellite data were used to perform a supervised classification using the imagery captured by Landsat sensors including Landsat 1-2 Multispectral Scanner (MSS), Landsat 4-5 Thematic Mapper (TM), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+), and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) from 1973 to 2015. The objective of this study is to build a long-term assessment of urban development and land cover change over the past four decades for the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast and to characterize these changes using Landscape Metrics (LM). The findings of this study indicate that the urban land cover doubled in size between 1973 and 2015. This expansion was accompanied by a high degree of urban fragmentation during the first half of the study period and then a gradual leveling off. Local, state, and federal authorities can use the results of this study to build mitigation plans, coastal development planning, and serve as the primary evaluation of the current urban development for city planners, environmental advocates, and community leaders to reduce degradation for this environmentally sensitive coastal region.