Spatiotemporal Heterogeneity Analysis of Yangtze River Delta Urban Agglomeration: Evidence from Nighttime Light Data (2001-2019)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Min Yu
  • Shan Guo
  • Yanning Guan
  • Danlu Cai
  • Chunyan Zhang
  • Klaus Fraedrich
  • Zhouwei Liao
  • Zhang, Xiaoxin
  • Zhuangzhuang Tian

The long-term changes of the relationship between nighttime light and urbanization related built-up areas are explored using nighttime light data obtained from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program/Operational Linescan System (DMSP/OLS, data before 2013) and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (NPP/VIIRS, data after 2012) and information of the spatiotemporal heterogeneity of urban evolution. This study assimilates two datasets and diagnoses the spatial heterogeneity in administrative city scale based on built-up area tendencies, temporal heterogeneity in pixel scale based on nighttime light intensity tendencies, and GDP associated spatiotemporal variability over the Yangtze River Delta comparing the first two decades of this century (2001-2010 versus 2011-2019). The analysis reveals the following main results: (1) The built-up areas have generally increased in the second period with the center of fast expansion moving southward, including Suzhou-Wuxi-Changzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Nanjing, and Hefei. (2) Urban development in the original city core has saturated and is spilling over to the suburbs and countryside, leading to nighttime light intensity tendency shift from a "rapid to moderate" and a "moderate to rapid" development (a "hot to cold" and a "cold to hot" spatial clustering distribution). (3) The tendency shifts of built-up area and nighttime light intensity occur most frequently in 2010, after which the urban development is transforming from light intensity growth to built-up area growth, particularly in the developed city cores. The urban agglomeration process with nighttime light intensity reaching saturation prior to the urban development spreading into the surrounding suburbs and countryside, appears to be a suitable model, which provides insights in addressing related environmental problems and contribute to regional sustainable urban planning and management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1235
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number7
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • long term nighttime light, spatiotemporal heterogeneity, urban agglomeration, tendency shift, hot and cold spots

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 261210981