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Assessing the effects of dam building on land degradation in central Iran with Landsat LST and LULC time series

Jafari, Reza, Hasheminasab, Seyedehnegar
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2017 v.189 no.2 pp. 74
Landsat, agricultural land, desertification, dry environmental conditions, drying, land cover, land degradation, land use, monitoring, rain, rangelands, regression analysis, residential areas, rivers, spatial variation, surface temperature, temporal variation, time series analysis, Iran
This study aimed to analyze the impact of Zayandehrood Dam on desertification using the spatio-temporal dynamics of land use/land cover (LULC) and land surface temperature (LST) in an arid environment in central Iran from 1987 to 2014. The LULC and LST images were calculated from Landsat TM, ETM+, and OLI data, and their accuracies were assessed against reference data using error matrix and linear regression analysis. Results showed that salty and bare lands increased up to 57,302 ha, while agricultural lands declined substantially (28,275.58 ha) in the region. The changes in LULC classes resulted in dramatic variations in LST values. The average temperature showed a 5.03 °C increase, and the minimum temperature increased by 5.66 °C. LST had an increasing trend in bare lands (8.74 °C), poor rangelands (6.8 °C), agricultural lands (9.46 °C), salty lands (9.6 °C), and residential areas (3.18 °C) in this 27-year period. Rainfall and temperature trend analysis revealed that the main cause of these extreme changes in LULC and LST was largely attributed to the drying up of Zayandehrood River due to dam construction and allocating water mainly for industrial sectors. Results indicate that in addition to LULC changes, the spatio-temporal variations of LST can be used as an effective index in desertification assessment and monitoring in arid environments.