ANALYZING THE VELOCITY OF URBAN DYNAMIC OVER NORTHEASTERN CHINA USING DMSP-OLS NIGHT-TIME LIGHTS
Stable night-time lights (NTL) data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Operational Line-scan System (DMSPOLS) can serve as a good proxy for anthropogenic development. Here DMSP-OLS NTL data was used to detect the urban development status in northeastern China. The spatial and temporal gradients are combined to depict the velocity of urban expanding process. This velocity index represents the instantaneous local velocity along the Earth’s surface needed to maintain constant NTL condition, and has a mean of 0.36 km/yr for northeastern China. The velocity change of NTL is lower in the urban center and its near regions, and the suburbs show a relatively high value. The connecting zones between satellite cities and metropolis have also a rapid rate of NTL evolution. The dynamic process of urbanization over the study area is mainly in a manner of spreading from urban cores to edges. The rank size of the velocity for the prefectures is analyzed and a long tail distribution is found. The velocity index can provide insights for the future pattern of urban sprawl.